F-18 SH redeployment to Kuwait will be carried out by Boeing
WASHINGTON, US — Boeing has been awarded a $70.7 million contract to provide logistics support for Kuwait’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, which are due to be transported to Kuwait soon, the US Department of Defense announced.
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The US Department of Defense announced on its website on March 1 that Boeing has been awarded a $70.7 million contract to provide integrated logistics support to the Kuwaiti government and train Kuwaiti pilots for the delivery of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. This means preparing the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multirole combat aircraft ordered by Kuwait for redeployment to Kuwait.
In November 2016, the US State Department approved a package sale of up to 40 Super Hornets [32 F/A-18E and 8 F/A-18F] to Kuwait worth USD 10.1 billion, including a very extensive accompanying package. Ultimately, Kuwait decided to acquire 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for $2.7 billion in the latest Block 3 standard. The deal includes 22 single-seat “E” variants and six two-seat F Super Hornets.
As we read in the announcement, the general logistics support will include, among others: pilot training, aircraft maintenance, equipment, including aircraft armament, spare F414 engines, etc.
The COVID-19 effect
The fact that the aircraft was ready for transport was announced in September 2021, when the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III was delivered to the US Department of Defense, however, the recipient’s aircraft were not ultimately delivered.
The delays are believed to be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted scheduled dates by disrupting supply chains and hampering Kuwaiti pilot training due to the restrictions in place.
As early as May 2015, the Kuwaiti Air Force planned to order 28 F/A-18E/Fs with an option for an additional 12. However, in June 2015 it was reported that Kuwait was considering a split purchase between the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F/A -18E/F. On 11 September 2015, Kuwait signed a contract for 28 Eurofighter jets – six have already been delivered.
Kuwait and USA
Trilateral relations between Kuwait, Boeing, and the US date back to 1990, when Kuwait purchased its first fighter jet from Boeing. Kuwait currently has 31 aging F/A-18Cs and eight F/A-18Ds in service.
Kuwait is considered by the Americans as one of their strategic partners, which is why strengthening its capabilities is defined as important to the “foreign policy and national security” of the United States. Kuwait’s acquisition of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters aims to improve interoperability with US forces, including during joint operations.
In September 2022, the US also announced that it had approved the sale of M1A2K tank ammunition to Kuwait. At the same time, Boeing announced plans to end production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet by the end of 2025 unless new contracts are in place. Production will then continue until 2027 – the company is counting on the purchase of these aircraft from India, but this contract is likely to be won by the French Rafale.
About F-18 Super Hornet
The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine multirole fighter variants derived from McDonnell Douglas’ F/A-18 Hornet series. The single-seat F/A-18E and two-seat F/A-18F are larger and more advanced versions of the F/A-18C and D, respectively.
Production of the first aircraft began in March 1997. The Super Hornet has a 20 mm M61A2 gun and can carry air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-water weapons. Boeing delivered the first Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet to the US Navy in September 2021.
The manufacturer describes this aircraft as the most advanced version of the Super Hornet, exceeding the capabilities of the fourth-generation fighter. Boeing has delivered more than 2,000 Super Hornets and Growlers, as well as older F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets, to customers worldwide since 1983.
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