Kuwait Orders 24 Airbus-Built Caracal Helicopters

Agence France Presse (AFP) Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)23.10.2015 Kuwait
Kuwait Orders 24 Airbus-Built Caracal Helicopters

Kuwait Orders 24 Airbus-Built Caracal Helicopters

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Kuwait signed 2.5 billion Euros ($2.8 billion) worth of military fixed and provisional deals led by the purchase of 24 Airbus-built Caracal helicopters, the French government said Wednesday.

Paris said Kuwait would purchase 24 helicopters for a billion Euros with an option for a further six.

The Caracal, which is deployed on combat rescue missions and long-distance troop transport, is fitted out with radar missile protection, while its weaponry includes air-to-ground and air-to-sea missiles.

The agreements came a month after Kuwait agreed to buy 28 Typhoon combat warplanes from the Eurofighter consortium.

Kuwait is looking to upgrade its firepower amid increased security concerns in the region linked to the rise of the jihadist Islamic State group.

Further deals included provision of French light armored vehicles and patrol boat maintenance.

A source familiar with the negotiations indicated that the patrol boats would include the revamping of eight P37 craft that France sold to Kuwait after Iraq's 1990 invasion that sparked the first Gulf War in 1991.

After the conflict the two countries signed a defense agreement and today Kuwaiti's military hierarchy is largely French-trained.

The French Defense Ministry has yet to confirm whether Paris will ultimately also supply new vessels.

Wednesday's accords were signed by a slew of Ministers including French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron in the presence of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

Meanwhile, Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah met with France's Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in the French capital Wednesday, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

During the meeting, held on the sidelines of Al-Sabah's visit to France, the two sides exchanged friendly talks and discussed key issues and subjects of mutual interest.

The Kuwaiti Minister expressed his satisfaction with the two countries' solid and historic ties, which go back to over five centuries, as well as the notable development in bilateral relations, expressing his hope for further cooperation in the next few days, particularly in the military training for Kuwaiti student officers.

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