The biggest of the agreements signed in Paris today by Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al Ahmad Al Sabah and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls covers the supply of 24 Airbus EC725 Caracal medium helicopters, with an option on six additional helicopters. Including their weapons, this agreement is valued at about €1 billion.
This deal was originally announced in June, and according to French media reports deliveries are due to begin in early 2018.
La France est un partenaire privilégié du Koweït. 2,5 milliards € d'accords signés, c'est bon pour nos emplois. MV pic.twitter.com/BnuwNtVbdd— Manuel Valls (@manuelvalls) October 21, 2015
The French government has not published a communiqué about these contracts, but several ministers, including PM Manuel Valls, have tweeted about them.
Kuwait also plans to buy 120 Sherpa Light armored 4x4 vehicles made by Renault Trucks Defense, as well as another type of protected vehicle made by the same company, and has signed a framework agreement.
Kuwait also has extended the sustainment contract for the eight P37 fast patrol boats it originally ordered in the 1990s, and plans to award a contract for the mid-life refit of these boats. It will in addition order a range of air-launched and ship-launched missiles to equip both these boats and the helicopters.
No additional information is available about these two contracts, which together are reported to be worth €1.5 billion.
These deals are also a form of compensation after Kuwait unexpectedly last month ordered 24 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, after having previously indicated it was leaning towards its French competitor, the Dassault Rafale.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian posted two tweets Oct. 20 about the renewal of Kuwait’s strategic partnership with France (above) and Kuwait’s reinforcement of its equipment and training aspects.
Le Koweït confirme à la France sa volonté de renforcer ce partenariat à travers de l'équipement et de la formation pic.twitter.com/tqce6DnjYY— Jean-Yves Le Drian (@JY_LeDrian) October 20, 2015
Also on Kuwait’s shopping list are a half-dozen Gowind corvettes, similar to those DCNS has sold to Egypt and is offering to Saudi Arabia, but no short-term decision is expected.
Companies linked to the French ministry of defense will also see their training contracts extended. France currently trains about one-quarter of the Kuwaiti Navy’s personnel, and 150 officer cadets are currently being trained here.
-- Oct 21: Updated story with information circulated after the three defense-related agreements were signed in mid-afternoon.