Kuwait the Latest Gulf State in the C-17 Club?
In September 2010, Kuwait added itself to the list of existing and potential Gulf Cooperation Council C-17 customers. Within the Gulf Cooperation Council, both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have bought the aircraft, even though they’re both small countries whose territories are well within the operating radius of smaller planes.
A hint of why might be found in neighboring Qatar’s decision to paint their first military C-17 in the bright colors of their national airline. C-17s that can deploy across oceans are a potent asset in a world that’s very short on advanced airlift. When disaster strikes, they boost the prestige and soft power of countries that possess them. If a Kuwaiti sale goes through, it could push total GCC fleet orders to 12 planes.
April 17/13: The US DSCA announces Kuwait’s request for a 2nd C-17 Globemaster III heavy transport, 4 F117-PW-100 turbofan engines, 1 AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System, 1 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Set (CMDS), secure radios, precision navigation equipment, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, tactics manuals, personnel training and training equipment, ferry support during delivery, and other forms of US Government and contractor support.
The estimated cost is up to $371 million, but the exact amount will be negotiated with Boeing as the prime contractor. Multiple US Government or contractor representatives will need to travel to Kuwait for 5 years, in order to to establish and maintain operational capability.
Kuwait issued a similar DSCA request in 2010, but there is no record of them buying an aircraft – and as a Foreign Military Sale, there would have to be. This request explicitly raises their maximum to 2, and the DSCA says that:
“The provision of a second C-17 provides KAF a more robust regional airlift and long-range strategic airlift capability. The additional C-17 aircraft will allow the KAF to better participate in humanitarian support operations.”
DSCA request: 1 more C-17
June 15/11: Flight International reports that:
“Unrest in the Middle East has shifted priorities in some key countries. This has prolonged discussions on potential deals with Qatar to purchase two more C-17s and with Kuwait to buy its first C-17, said Bob Ciesla, Boeing’s C-17 programme manager.”
Sept 24/10: The US DSCA announces Kuwait’s formal request to buy 1 Boeing C-17 GLOBEMASTER III aircraft and associated parts, equipment and logistics support, in a complete package worth up to $693 million. This would be a Foreign Military Sale, unlike Qatar which bought its C-17s under Direct Commercial Sale rules, and reserves its FMS purchases for C-17 GSP support contracts. The request includes a C-17A aircraft, plus:
- 5 F117-PW-100 turbofan engines (4 installed, 1 spare)
- 1 of BAE’s AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing System (CMDS)
- 1 of ATK’s AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS)
- Plus aircraft ferry services, refueling support, precision navigation equipment, spare and repairs parts, support, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, and U.S. Government and contractor support.
Boeing is the prime contractor, of course, but the estimated cost of $693 million is well above the C-17′s historic purchases prices. This indicates that wide-ranging support contracts were factored into this price quote. The DSCA adds that implementation “will require the assignment of additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Kuwait. The number required will be determined in joint negotiations as the program proceeds through the development, production, and equipment installation phases.”
DSCA request: 1 C-17