Kuwait to purchase 28 warplanes: Eurofighter

Updated 12 September 2015

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.

Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 55 min 29 sec ago

Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.