Kuwait will finalize a deal to purchase Eurofighter jets from Italy next week.
"Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti will visit Kuwait next week to sign the Eurofighter warplanes deal," Kuwait's Defence Minister Sheikh Khaled Jarrah al-Sabah was quoted as saying Thursday by KUNA news agency.
Al-Sabah did not disclose the number of Eurofighters Kuwait is going to buy.
Kuwait had signed a MoU to buy 28 Eurofighters for an estimated $9 billion in September last year. It was also negotiating buying 28 Boeing F/A-18E/F fighter jets by the end of 2015. The Boeing deal however has been held up by delays in US regulatory process.
The minister met with his Italian counterpart earlier Thursday on the sidelines of an anti-Islamic State group coalition meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
“We were trying to acquire the F-18 Super Hornets and replace the existing fleet of F-18s with Super Hornets and Eurofighter Typhoons. However, we cannot wait for the American approval and need to update our Air Force now," a Senior Kuwaiti military official said in Jaunuary.
Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti was invited by Kuwait to attend the signing for 28 Eurofighter aircraft in Kuwait earlier this month. The signing did not happen.
Finmeccanica had expected to complete the Eurofighter deal in November. The delay is supposedly because of problems linked to pilot training and dispatching of specialized personnel.
"We have discussed the Eurofighter deal, which was expected to be finalized in Kuwait in December but was delayed due to problems on the pilot training," another official said.
"Our Air Force wanted to send the pilots for training in the United Kingdom, not Italy, due to the language barriers; however the deal was finalized after there was an agreement on sending them to train in Italy," he added.
"The training program is expected not to take less than 18 months," he had said.