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Kuwait to buy 28 F-18 warplanes: official

Kuwait City: Kuwait will buy 28 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets to replace a fleet of earlier versions of the US fighter jets, a top official said today.

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

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 USD 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 (USD 8.5 billion).

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

That funding came on top of USD 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.