Kuwait Upgrading its Desert Warriors
Kuwait needs to upgrade its Warriors. The light 24t infantry fighting vehicles are famous for their aluminum armor, and accompanying speed. From 1987 – 1995, Alvis Vickers (now BAE) built over 1,000 MCV-80 Warriors, including 254 “Desert Warrior” IFVs for Kuwait.
Britain’s vehicles have seen frequent use, and are undergoing an upgrade program that includes new armor, a new turret, and Thales Optronics’ battle group thermal imaging (BGTI) sights. Now, Kuwait is also bent on improving target acquisition and surveillance capabilities for its gun and missile armed IFVs…
July 8/09: The US DSCA announces [PDF] Kuwait’s official request to upgrade the Desert Warriors’ Fire Control System with Gunner’s Integrated TOW System (GITS II) hardware. The proposed sale includes installation of the Improved Thermal Sight System 2nd Generation FLIR, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and related support.
The DSCA release adds that Kuwait will use the upgraded Desert Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle for protecting its borders, and says that the upgrade will also improve the vehicles’ operational readiness. By adding 2nd Generation FLIR, Kuwait will extend the range of its vehicles’ surveillance and target acquisition. That can be useful in overwatch role. It also allows the Warrior to see first and shoot first against enemy armor with less advanced equipment, while making full use of its TOW anti-armor missile’s range in all weather conditions or times of day.
Raytheon Company Network Centric Systems in McKinney, TX will be the contractor, and the estimated cost is $314 million. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 5 contractor representatives to Kuwait for a period of 5 years, to accomplish the requested upgrade.
Note that DSCA requests are not contracts, merely legal notifications under American ITAR arms export laws. If the request is not blocked by Congress within 30 days, the path is clear for a negotiated contract that will finalize prices and terms.