On 1st March, the Kuwait National Assembly reportedly approved a law allowing the government to withdraw KD 150m (€460m) from state reserves to support the defense ministry. Defence minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah said the money would be used to make an advance payment for the purchase of Eurofighter combat aircraft.
Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding with Italy in September 2015 to purchase 28 Typhoons, making it the third Gulf customer for the European fighter. The Typhoon was selected in preference to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in what came as a surprise to many observers, given that Kuwait already operates a fleet of 40 F/A-18Cs. It is thought that the Typhoons may complement rather than replace this fleet.
However, there had been no further confirmation in the intervening period, though training of Kuwait Air Force pilots is already well under way in Italy. The total value of the deal is estimated at KD 2.6bn.
The Typhoon purchase comes on top of a major military acquisition programme launched earlier this year. In January, the Assembly approved additional funds of KD 3 billion for military purchases over the next 10 years. This includes a €2.5bn order for 24 H225M Caracals from Airbus Helicopters.