TURIN --- Among the many guests at the unveiling of the 500th Eurofighter at Leonardo's Turin-Caselle facility, on Tuesday was a small Kuwait delegation. It was headed up by the Kuwait Ambassador to Italy, His Excellency Sheikh Ali Khalid Al Sabah, who was presented with the first component to be built for the first Kuwait Air Force Eurofighter.
On April 5 last year, Finmeccanica (now Leonardo) signed a deal believed to be worth nearly $9 billion with the Kuwait Air Force for 28 Eurofighters. The contract includes 22 single-seater and six twin seater Tranche 3s aircraft. Drawn from the Italian production line, deliveries of the jets are expected to commence in 2019 through to 2023.
The KAF Eurofighters will be the first to be fitted with the new Leonardo Air and Space Systems (formerly Selex ES) E-Scan radar known as Captor-E. It comes after an agreement was penned in November 2014 to develop the new electronic radar.
With 87 of the 96 Italian aircraft built at Leonardo’s production facilities, a Leonardo Aircraft Division official said: “Production will be slowed down next year to bridge the production gap of the 28 new build Kuwaiti jets.”
With just nine aircraft to be delivered before 2019, that points to a considerable decrease in production.
He added, “As well as the aircraft, the contract includes three years of support, from delivery of the first aircraft; training for operations with the Italian Air Force and to build up the infrastructure at Ali Al Salem Air Base where they will be housed. A complete training package will be created for the Academy training centre.”
The Kuwaiti aircraft will be built to P3EB standard, which along with the Captor-E includes integration of the Storm Shadow cruise missile, Brimstone 2 ground attack weapon and Meteor beyond visual range air to air air (BVRAAM) although it has never been confirmed that Kuwait has ordered any of the weapons.
Most agree it is going to be a tight deadline, getting all of them into service by the end of 2018. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Arabian Aerospace website.