- The memorandum of understanding (MoU) calls for the supply of 22 single seater and six double seater fighter jets
- 20-year deal to include maintenance services
- Smaller deal is reportedly underway with Boeing
The state of Kuwait is said to have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the procurement of 28 Eurofighter jets with the consortium that produce the aircraft.
Citing Italian industry sources, the UK-based news agency Reuters reported on Saturday that Kuwait had agreed to the contract that could be worth up to $9bn.
The deal, thought to extend over a 20-year period, will include maintenance services. Twenty-two of the 28 jets are understood to be single seaters, while the rest are two seaters.
The contract is reported to be likely finalised within weeks.
The Eurofighter aircraft is produced by Italys Finmeccanica, UKs BAE Systems, and Frances Airbus.
The Eurofighter Typhoon jets came into service in 2003. If this deal is concluded, Kuwait will be joining seven other countries, which have acquired the aircraft. They include the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Kuwait is also understood to have ongoing negotiations with US Boeing for the purchase of 24 Boeing co F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, although no official announcement has been made by either the Kuwait government or Boeing. Industry sources estimate this deal to be about $3bn, according to Reuters.
Several states in the Middle East region from Saudi Arabia to Egypt have ramped up their defense and security investments in recent months. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia was reported to be negotiating the purchase of two Lockheed Martin frigates, Iraq took delivery of four F-16s from the same company in July, Qatar signed a $7bn contract for the purchase of Rafale jets from France in May, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia are understood to be keen in acquiring two French helicopter carriers meant for Russia.