Kuwait: Eurofighter is coming
Kuwait’s 28 Eurofighter Typhoons, to be delivered from 2020 onwards, will be the most advanced version of the aircraft produced so far. This multi-role fighter will have a package of capabilities including the Captor-E (E-scan) radar and several enhancements to the weapon systems that will bring the Kuwait Air Force to the frontline of fighter technology. Deliveries of the aircraft are scheduled to be completed in 2023.
A Eurofighter with the Kuwait Air Force insigna
When the contract between the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defence and Leonardo (as Prime Contractor) was signed in April 2016, Kuwait became the aircraft’s eighth customer, following the four Partner Nations (Germany, UK, Italy and Spain) and three export nations (Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman). In December 2017, it was announced that Qatar would be purchasing 24 Typhoons, making it the ninth operator.
The Eurofighter Programme: Leonardo’s role
Alongside BAE Systems and Airbus, Leonardo has a one-third share in the Typhoon programme with work undertaken at its sites across Italy and the UK.
Under the terms of the agreement, Leonardo produces all the left wings, complete with installed systems; all the rear sections of the fuselage, designed together with BAE Systems; some mobile surfaces and underwing pylons for loads; wing-fuselage joints and titanium engine fairing. Production is carried out across Leonardo’s Italian sites – in Naples, Foggia, Venegono and Torino Caselle.
Structural parts, systems and sensors produced by Leonardo on board the Eurofighter
Leonardo also designs and integrates more than 60% of the aircraft’s on-board avionics in addition to overseeing the integration of the weapon and propulsion system which combined gives the Typhoon its ‘combat edge’. These include the Captor radar (M-scan and E-scan versions) produced by the Euroradar consortium and led from Leonardo’s Edinburgh site, the passive infrared PIRATE system produced by the EuroFirst consortium and led from Leonardo’s Nerviano site, the DASS auto-protection system (Defensive Aids Sub-System) provided by the EuroDASS consortium and led from Leonardo’s Luton site, and the jet’s communication and IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems.
Production for Kuwait
Production of the Kuwaiti Typhoons began in the second half of 2016.
Giancarlo Mezzanatto, Eurofighter Programme Unit Vice President of the Leonardo Aircraft Division, explained: “The capability packages granted to Kuwait will include the integration of Storm Shadow and Brimstone, and other air-to-surface weapons that enrich the multi-role characteristics of the aircraft and enhance the weapon system. Moreover, this configuration foresees the integration of a new advanced laser designator pod, the introduction of a combat training pod, an enhanced navigation aid and the new Captor-E radar.”
Alastair Morrison, SVP for radar and advanced targeting at Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems Division, gives further insight: “The Captor-E has the largest antenna of any competing aircraft’s radar, therefore generating the most power, and has the combat edge provided by a wide-field-of-regard re-positioner. The first phase of flight tests wrapped up earlier this year and we’ve seen some excellent results. This new radar underpins the Typhoon’s current and future capability evolution.”
A Eurofighter in Kuwaiti colors with a complete war load
The agreement with the Kuwait MoD also includes services to ensure that the Eurofighter fleet is able to operate at optimum capacity, with the design and construction of a new facility at the Al-Salem Air Base in Kuwait and support services, initially for three years with an option for a further five. These services include the supply of line replaceable units and a suite of training devices to establish a pilot Operational Conversion Unit in Kuwait.
The Eurofighter in the Gulf Region
2017 saw the final delivery of all 72 Typhoons ordered by Saudi Arabia with Oman also receiving the first 6 of its planned 12 aircraft. The Kuwait programme and the latest contract with Qatar reinforces the growing importance of the multi-role Eurofighter Typhoon in the Gulf Region.