Kuwaiti Air Force owns the most advanced variant of Eurofighter Typhoon

On the 23rd December 2019 at the Flight Test Centre of Leonardo Aircraft Division in Turin-Caselle, the first Instrumented Series Production Aircraft (ISPA 6) equipped with the Kuwait Air Force configuration has completed its first flight.

The aircraft is the first to fly the innovative Captor E-Scan Radar with Phase Enhancement P3Eb, and is a key milestone for the entry into service of Eurofighter with the State of Kuwait.

The Kuwait Ministry of Defence and Finmeccanica, which leads commercial activities in Kuwait on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium, signed a contract for the supply of 28 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for $8.6 billion (KD 2.6 billion), to be produced in Italy. The deal, part of an intergovernmental agreement between the two countries, was signed in the presence of the Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti and her Kuwaiti counterpart, H.E. SHAIKH Gen. Khaled Al Jarrah Al Sabah.

Structural parts, systems and sensors produced by Leonardo on board the Eurofighter

This standard is the most advanced variant of the fighter jet ever made, with a package of capabilities that build effectively on existing enhancement programmes.

A contract for the supply of 28 Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role fighter aircraft was signed between the Ministry of Defense of the State of Kuwait and Leonardo (on 05 April 2016) through its Aircraft Division acting as Eurofighter Prime Contractor Organization.

At the time of the order, Kuwait was the third customer in the Gulf region for the Eurofighter after Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Qatar subsequently signed a roughly $6.8bn deal for 24 jets last year and Saudi Arabia reached an estimated $13bn provisional deal for a further 48 jets in March.

With Captor E-Scan radar and several new additions to the weapon system, this variant will put the Kuwait Air Force at the front-line of the fighter technology when the aircraft enters into service with the State of Kuwait in 2020.

Leonardo’s Airborne & Space Systems Division, with the support of the various production sites in Italy and the UK, contribute significantly to the development and production of the aircraft’s avionics and main sensors. In particular, the Captor-E radar (M-scan and E-scan version), produced by the Euroradar consortium, the passive infrared PIRATE system, produced by the EuroFirst consortium (both consortium led by Leonardo) and the DASS auto-protection system (Defensive Aids Sub-System), and communication and IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems. Finally, at the Venegono Superiore plant in the Varese province, Leonardo designs and produces Ground Support Equipment (or AGE), such as air start and auxiliary power units.

While other aircraft in different Eurofighter Partner Companies are testing specific parts of this configuration, including the development of the E-Scan radar in UK and Germany, this is the first flight of the entire package that will be delivered to Kuwait.

The Captor-E next-generation multi-mode Doppler radar was developed by Euroradar consortium comprising Leonardo (Great Britain, Italy), Indra (Spain) and sensor solutions provider Hensoldt (Germany) for reportedly €1 billion.

The capability package for Kuwait includes the integration of Storm Shadow and Brimstone and other air-to-surface weapons. Moreover, it foresees the integration of a new advanced laser designator pod (the Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod) that will expand Eurofighter’s portfolio of cleared laser designator pods; the introduction of the DRS-Cubic ACMI P5 combat training pod and an enhanced navigation aid (VOR).

Although the radar first flew on the Eurofighter in 2007, so far, neither of these countries retrofitted their planes with the Captor-E. The consortium is offering the radars to Germany, Qatar and Switzerland.

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