The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing a $1.5 billion contract to produce and deliver 28 F-18 Super Hornets to the government of Kuwait, the Department of Defense said in a release.
“The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is awarded a $1,504,995,240 fixed-price-incentive-firm contract that provides for the production and delivery of 22 F/A-18E and six F/A-18F Super Hornets in support of the government of Kuwait,” the Wednesday, June 27 release said.
Work will be performed across the U.S. and at other locations and is expected to be completed in January 2021.
In November 2016, the U.S. State Department approved a possible foreign military sale of up to 40 F/A-18E/F aircraft, support, equipment and training at an estimated cost of $10.1 billion.
The F-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine, multirole fighter capable of carrying air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. It is available in single-seat (F/A-18E) and tandem-seat (F/A-18F) variants.
The new planes are set to replace Kuwait’s aging F-18 fleet purchased after the first Gulf War. In 2016, Kuwait news agency reported Major General Lafi al-Azmi, chief of the Armament and Procurement Authority, as saying that a number of the outdated fighter jets would be returned.
In January, Kuwait informed the U.S. that it planned to go ahead with the purchase.
The contract awarded on Wednesday does not include the M61A2 20mm gun systems, LAU-127E/A guided missile launchers, radar, radio, and air-to-ground missile command launch computers approved in 2016.
Kuwait has signed a number of procurement deals in the last few years, including major deals with France. In 2015 Kuwait signed $2.8 billion (€2.5 million) worth of purchase agreements to acquire a fleet of up to 24 Airbus H225M Caracal helicopters and air-to-ground and anti-ship missiles. The deal was upgraded in 2016 to exercise an option for six additional Caracals.
In February, the State Department approved a possible $259 million sale to Kuwait of four Beechcraft King Air 350ER Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance aircraft.
Kuwait also has 28 Eurofighter Typhoons on order under a €8 billion deal signed in 2015.