Kuwait to purchase 28 warplanes: Eurofighter

Updated 12 September 2015
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Kuwait to purchase 28 warplanes: Eurofighter

BERLIN: Kuwait has agreed to buy 28 Typhoon warplanes, becoming the third country in the Gulf region to order the combat aircraft, the Eurofighter consortium said.
Its statement did not give financial details about the deal, which was struck between the governments of Kuwait and Italy.
Eurofighter is a partnership between Italy’s Finmeccanica, Britain’s BAE Systems and civilian planemaker Airbus.
According to Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Kuwait’s overall order was estimated to be worth between seven and eight billion euros ($8-9 billion).
The accord was signed Thursday by Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti and Finmeccanica Chief Executive Officer Mauro Moretti, the newspaper said.
“This new agreement is the confirmation of the superiority of the Eurofighter over its competitors and will provide a great opportunity for further Eurofighter orders,” said Eurofighter CEO Alberto Gutierrez in the statement.
“The Eurofighter is already proven and trusted by six nations to perform in all operational environments,” he added.
In the Gulf region, the Kuwait deal follows Oman’s order of 12 Eurofighter Typhoons in December 2012.
“The State of Kuwait will be the third country in the Middle East, and the eighth country overall to operate the aircraft,” another member of the Eurofighter consortium, BAE Systems, said in a statement.
“This confirms Typhoon’s position as the most advanced new generation swing role combat aircraft available today,” it added, referring to the fighter jet’s ability to handle different roles in combat.
Kuwait is looking to upgrade its firepower against the backdrop of increased security concerns in the region linked to the rise of the Daesh group.
The Eurofighter deal with Kuwait represents a setback for US rival Boeing.
Kuwait had been expected to opt for Boeing’s Super Hornet F18s.
Before the sale was official, a source close to the matter in the United States had indicated that Kuwait was in discussions for the two planes, indicating the final order could include both Super Hornets and the Eurofighter jets.
A spokesman for Boeing had said: “The USNavy and Boeing continue to discuss Super Hornets with potential Middle East customers.”
The Kuwait deal is also a boost for Eurofighter against another rival, the Rafale jet built by French firm Dassault Aviation, which has deals in the region with Egypt and Qatar.
The Eurofighter Typhoon, which has a list price of around $140 million, is Europe’s largest collaborative defense program, with the Kuwait purchase taking the number of the aircraft sold to 599.
Since it first entered into service in late 2003, 444 aircraft have been delivered to six nations.
Earlier media reports Friday of the sale sent shares of Finmeccanica soaring more the 5.0 percent on the Milan stock exchange, while in London BAE Systems closed nearly 2.0 percent higher.


Erdogan picks ministers for Turkey parliamentary race to boost his AK Party’s chances

Updated 27 min 32 sec ago
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Erdogan picks ministers for Turkey parliamentary race to boost his AK Party’s chances

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has picked prominent ministers to run for parliament next month, strengthening the ruling AK Party’s chances of winning a majority but putting their future role in government into question, party officials say.
Many cabinet members including the energy, defense, foreign and interior ministers were named this week by the party to run for parliament in the June 24 poll, where the Islamist-rooted AK Party faces a stiff challenge from an opposition alliance.
While boosting the list of candidates, the move could affect the shape of the future cabinet because lawmakers will not be able to hold ministerial posts under the new presidential system, unless they resign their seats.
The party, in power since 2002, remains Turkey’s most popular political force, but recent opinion polls have suggested it could struggle to win an absolute majority, even with the support of its nationalist MHP ally.
The latest fall in the lira, which has lost more than a fifth of its value against the dollar this year, could also work against Erdogan if voters fear the government is pushing prices and the cost of living higher.
Erdogan is still widely expected to win the presidential election to be held the same day. While the presidency will take on greater executive authority afterwards, an opposition-controlled parliament could vote down legislation.
“Erdogan wants to win a parliamentary majority in this critical election with a strong list,” said one AK Party member running for parliament.
A survey by MAK pollsters, viewed as sympathetic to the ruling party, showed on Wednesday that the parliamentary race is absolutely balanced, with the AK Party together with the MHP winning exactly 50.0 percent. In the presidential vote, it saw Erdogan winning 51.4 percent.

MINISTERIAL CHANGES
The move to throw high profile ministers into the parliamentary race could have a major impact on the composition of next cabinet.
“Under normal circumstances, those who are in the (parliamentary) list will not be appointed ministers,” a senior AK Party official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
Finance Minister Naci Agbal was not named as a parliamentary candidate, and three sources said he was expected to remain in the post-election cabinet.
However, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci is expected to leave the cabinet and run for a mayoral office, the sources said, while the future of Mehmet Simsek, deputy prime minister with responsibility for the economy, was undecided.
Investors have been watching closely for signals about Simsek’s role. As a former investment banker in New York and London, he is seen as one of the most investor-friendly members of a government at odds with economic orthodoxy.
The Turkish lira, already one of the weakest emerging market currencies this year, has lost another 13 percent against the dollar since Erdogan said in London last week that he planned to take greater control of the economy and that the central bank would not be able to ignore signals from the new executive presidency.
“Erdogan will make the last call on Simsek. Although Simsek’s policies are sometimes criticized, everyone knows that it’s hard to replace him,” an AK Party official said.
Simsek congratulated those on the party’s parliamentary list on Tuesday, adding in a tweet: “Onwards, no stopping.”
Officials say economic management is expected to be overseen by one of five vice presidents in a cabinet made up of 14 ministers — down from the current 21.
The changes have not yet been finalized, however, and may not be completed before the election, one of the AK Party officials said.