Kuwait’s Prospective F-35 Acquisition: Insights from the US

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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 18: The Commander of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Lieutenant General Alexus G. Grynkewich says Kuwait has a special place in his heart. In a press conference held yesterday morning on the occasion of his visit to the country, Lt. Gen. Grynkewich explained that the first time the U.S. forces were deployed in the Middle East was in the 1990s in Kuwait after the Gulf War and after Operation Desert Storm when the forces were enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. The relationship between Kuwait and the United States dates back 62 years, “which means it is older than my age”. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize Kuwait’s independence.

Lt. Gen. Grynkewich

He said, “Kuwait is a major ally of the USA outside of NATO, and therefore it is key to our work. We are committed to the security and stability of Kuwait, and we will continue to be committed to its security and stability for years to come.” Lt. Gen. Grynkewich revealed that he had previously visited Kuwait several times and that he met yesterday with the Commander of the Kuwaiti Air Force and the Commander of the Kuwaiti Air Defense, adding, “We discussed opportunities for cooperation between us and the security issues in the region. The two sides sometimes carry out some joint exercises.”

Regarding regional security and the missile defense system, he stressed that the United States is focusing on this aspect, saying, “Our main focus with Kuwait relates to those relations between us.” When asked about the security challenges facing the region, Lt. Gen. Grynkewich said, “We are constantly communicating with the Kuwaiti side. My multiple visits are only one of the common points between us. There are Kuwaiti officers working on a daily basis at our base in Qatar.

In the past months, we conducted air bridge training.” ‘Lt. Gen. Grynkewich stressed his country’s commitment to security in the region. Regarding Kuwait’s cooperation with other countries, Lt. Gen. Grynkewich said, “We have been working with our French and British partners over the years. Contact with them extends when Kuwait buys aircraft and equipment from our friends and partners in Europe. We are continuing this cooperation and joint “tactics” with our allies and with Kuwait, even if this happens on European aircraft such as the Eurofighter, this diversity contributes to working very closely together.” When asked whether the United States would supply Kuwait with F-35 aircraft if Kuwait decided to acquire them, he said, “The United States will seriously consider that. However, there are many factors that go into a decision like this, including how easy it is for a country to maintain the plane and other technical matters. Nevertheless, we always support Kuwait, and I have no doubt that they are thinking about this seriously.” By Fares Al-Abdan Al-Seyassah / Arab Times Staff

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