Eurofighter Ends Order Drought as Kuwait Buys 28 Typhoon Jets

  • Contract is said to be valued at as much as 8 billion euros
  • Warplane award is said to price in infrastructure, training

Eurofighter GmbH won a multibillion-euro deal to supply 28 Typhoon warplanes to Kuwait, ending a three-year order drought and possibly heralding agreements with other Middle East states.

The purchase is worth as much as 8 billion euros ($9 billion) and will be done as an inter-government transaction between Kuwait and Italy, a person familiar with the matter said. The award will be enough to let the Eurofighter group keep output unchanged, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

The Kuwait deal is a boost for the program after the rival Rafale, built by Dassault Aviation SA of France, won commitments in Egypt, Qatar and India.
Along with the air forces of Eurofighter-partners Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany, the Typhoon is flown by Saudi Arabia and Austria. Oman placed the last previous order, for 12 aircraft in 2012.

“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,” Chief Executive Officer Alberto Gutierrez said Friday in a statement announcing the sale.

The contract prices in infrastructure upgrades, pilots and ground crew, operational support and training, the person said. Excluding support expenses, the Typhoon has a list price of about 120 million euros ($136 million) per aircraft.

Typhoon Production

BAE Systems Plc said in July that its ability to increase full-year underlying earnings per share is contingent on securing further aircraft sales and that a decision on whether to slow Typhoon production would be made before the end of the year.

Despite a fall in oil prices weighing on export revenues in the region, the Kuwaiti order could spur other purchases, including from Saudi Arabia and Oman. Eurofighter also has a chance to win sales to Bahrain; Qatar, which signed an outline deal for the Rafale in May; and the United Arab Emirates, which ended talks on a purchase in 2013.

Italy’s Corriere della Sera said earlier on its website that Eurofighter partner Finmeccanica SpA had won Kuwaiti contracts through its Alenia Aermacchi unit after three years of talks, with the Eurofighter group a prime beneficiary.

An accord was reached Thursday and signed by Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti and Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti, the newspaper said.