F-18 fighter jets
US has sanctioned new fighter jets for Kuwait and Qatar valued $31.2 billion. In Picture: F-18 fighter jets.Reuters file

Kuwait and Qatar will now be receiving advanced fighter jets from US following the approval of US State Department. The combined sale has been valued at $31.2 billion.

IHS Jane's Defence Weekly reported of the two notifications that were posted on Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) website on November 17, announcing the approval of 40 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for Kuwait and 72 Boeing F-15 Advanced Eagles for Qatar.

The cost of 40 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets meant for Kuwait would be costing $10.1 billion and price of 72 Boeing F-15 Advanced Eagles was pegged at 21.1 billion.

The US decision was delayed following Israeli concerns regarding such a sale, but US has overridden them and granted the final go ahead for the fighter jet sales.

Out of the 40 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for Kuwait, 32 will be single-seat F/A-18E and eight twin-seat F/A-18F aircraft. Kuwait will also be getting 2 Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper pods, 48 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS), and other equipment and support, the report noted.

The newly approved F/A-18E/Fs will be boosting Kuwaiti Air Force fighter fleet. Kuwait is yet to receive the 28 Eurofighter Typhoons that it ordered in September 2015. Kuwait also has 39 Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets.

US sales to Qatar is inclusive of weapons and related support equipment for the 72 F-15QA (Qatar Advanced) Eagles that has been approved. Qatari pilots will be trained in US under Lead-in fighter training.

The Advanced Eagles was Boeing's latest variant of F-15s and features two additional underwing weapons stations, provides the option of having a larger area display cockpit, fly-by-wire controls and Raytheon APG-63 (V) 3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

The Qatar Emiri Air Force has ordered 24 Dassault Rafales in May 2015. The new aircraft from US will be replacing the current Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighters that are part of its air force.

Kuwait and Qatar have been part of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition of 34 countries that has intervened to fight ISIS in Iraq and against the Houthi position in Yemen.

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