DUBAI, Nov 7, (RTRS): Boeing on Saturday gave its strongest indication yet about a near term sale of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to Kuwait, although the world’s second-largest weapons maker said lower oil prices were delaying some arms purchases by Gulf states.“There are things that we’re waiting on …those things are going to be cleared and we think they’re going to be cleared soon,”Boeing’s Paul Oliver said in response to a question on whether discussions about a reported $3 billion F/A-18 deal with Kuwait talks were making progress.
Oliver, vice-president of international business development in the Middle East and Africa for Boeing’s defense business, did not name Kuwait specifically.The United States has not publicly acknowledged talks to sell Boeing fighters to Kuwait,but sources familiar with the matter have said it is in negotiations about selling 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to the Gulf nation in a deal valued at over $3 billion Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters they hoped it would clear final regulatory hurdles before the end of the year.
In September, Kuwait also signed a memorandum of understanding to buy28 Euro fighter jets built by Italy’s Finmeccanica, Britain’s BAE Systems and European aerospace firm Airbus Group.
At a news conference on Saturday,Boeing officials said they were working on some fighter export prospects but declined to identify any potential buyers.
Kuwait and other Gulf and Middle Eastern countries are looking to acquire new high-tech military equipment to protect themselves from neighboring Iran and internal threat sun leashed by the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.Gulf governments are also looking to expand and speed up their replenishment of arms due to involvement in the Yemen war but longer-term programs are being postponed as low oil prices shrink state coffers.“They’ve put some things on the shelf … they want to be very prudent,but they’re focused on needs right now,” Oliver said in Dubai ahead ofthe Dubai Airshow.Some development programs could be delayed for about three years due to low oil prices for oil-exporting Gulf states, he said.“I don’t think anybody is looking atany of these things to be over quick,”Oliver said. Procurement’s for “proven, off-the self solutions” have accelerated,Oliver added, including Chinook and Apache helicopters.