Despite budget cuts, Kuwait finds money for F-18 order

Despite budget cuts, Kuwait finds money for F-18 order
Kuwait has placed a multi-billion dollar order for F-18 super jets from the US, just as an election for parliament saw anti-austerity MPs sweep to victory.
2 min read
28 November, 2016
The order for the F-18s will be in the range of $8 billion [Getty]
Kuwait will buy 28 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet war planes to replace a fleet of earlier versions of the US fighter jets, a top official said Monday.

The value of the deal is not expected to exceed $5 billion, the KUNA state news agency reported the head of armament and procurement at Kuwait's defence ministry as saying.

It comes as voters in this Saturday's parliamentary election rejected the government's austerity programme by voting for the Islamist-dominated opposition.

Many Kuwaitis believe taxes should be raised for a huge budget deficit rather than cuts to subsidies.

Major General Lafi al-Azemi said the deal stipulates the supplier will re-purchase the old Hornet fighter jets from Kuwait.

The US state department this month said it has authorised the deal, as well as the sale of 72 F-15 Strike Eagle jets to Kuwait's Gulf neighbour Qatar at an estimated value of $21 billion.

In April, Kuwait signed a contract with Italy's Finmeccanica for the purchase of 28 Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes for under eight billion euros ($8.5 billion).

Kuwait's parliament in March approved spending an additional $500 million as an advance payment for the jets.

That funding came on top of $10 billion additional defence spending already approved by parliament in January to upgrade the country's military.

The emirate is a member of the US-led coalition bombing Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq, and is also taking part in a Saudi-led coalition pounding Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

Last year, it bought 24 Caracal military tactical transport helicopters and French light armoured vehicles.