The Kuwait deal is an important breakthrough for the Eurofighter consortium, which includes Finmeccanica SpA, BAE Systems PLC and Airbus Group SE, after a series of losses in foreign markets.
Mr. Gutierrez said the deal with Kuwait “will provide a great opportunity for further Eurofighter orders”.
Italy, which partners with the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain on the Eurofighter program, took the lead in the marketing campaign in Kuwait, which culminated in an agreement September 11, the Italian government said after a meeting in Rome between the prime ministers of Italy and Kuwait.
The transaction is a major win for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH – the company that oversees the development of the Typhoon on behalf of the major aerospace companies of the countries that fund it – as it breaks a run of deals that Middle Eastern countries have signed with French rival Dassault Aviation SA for its Rafale fighter.
“The Eurofighter is already proven and trusted by six nations to perform in all operational environments”, he added. “This confirms Typhoon’s position as the most advanced new generation swing role combat aircraft available today”. The Gulf state is looking to upgrade its firepower against a backdrop of increased security concerns in the region linked to the rise of Daesh and instability in Iraq and Syria.
A U.S. source acknowledged there is always a chance for a split buy from Kuwait, and said talks on a Super Hornet sale to Kuwait are proceeding. Sources close to the deal told AFP that some Super Hornets might still be bought as well as the Typhoon planes.
The Eurofighter Typhoon, which has a list price of about US$140 million, is Europe’s largest collaborative defence programme, with the Kuwait purchase taking the number of aircraft sold to 599.
France secured deals for the Rafale in Qatar and Egypt earlier this year, and deliveries to Cairo are underway.
Finmeccanica shares rose more than five percent on Friday on hopes for a deal with similar stories appearing in the Italian media.