May 8, 2015
US Near to Sell 40 Super Hornet to Kuwait
The deal, has yet to be officially announced, but officials in Washington have confirmed an agreement is close.
Any deal will would require approval from the US Congress, but it's unlikely a proposed sale to Kuwait, a staunch US ally in the Persian Gulf, would meet serious opposition.
A major Super Hornet sale would breathe new life into the Boeing production line, which is working on new aircraft for the US Navy and Australia, but which will deliver the last of those aircraft by the end of 2017. Boeing officials have said production of two aircraft per month, or 24 per year, is necessary to keep the St. Louis, Missouri production line at the break-even point.
The Navy has not officially requested any Super Hornet variants since the 2014 budget. But Congress added fifteen EA-18G Growler electronic attack variants into the 2015 defense acts, and the service listed 12 Super Hornets in its 2016 unfunded requirements list.
In Kuwait, Boeing had been up against the Eurofighter Typhoon. Kuwait tentatively agreed in early 2014 to go with the Typhoon, but subsequently backed off.
It is not yet clear how many single-seat F/A-18Es and two-seat F/A-18Fs are involved in the Kuwait deal. Some media accounts reported a deal for 28 of the Boeing aircraft, while US sources indicate as many as 40 F/A-18s could be sold -- probably under an initial deal for 28 aircraft with an option for 12 more..
If confirmed, Kuwait would become the second international customer for the Super Hornet, after Australia, that operates 24 F/A-18Fs, and is set to take initial delivery this summer of the first of 12 EA-18G Growlers.