WASHINGTON — Boeing and the government of Kuwait on Friday finalized a long-awaited deal for 28 Super Hornets, with a contract value that could amount to almost $1.2 billion.
Under the agreement, Kuwait will purchase 22 single-seat F/A-18E models and six F/A-18Fs, the two-seat version of the jet.
The contract immediately obligates $275.9 million for long-lead nonrecurring engineering costs, including radar warning receivers and aircraft armament equipment.
However, because the final award value has not been definitized, Boeing stands to make as much as $1.2 billion — the ceiling value of the contract.
The State Department approved the Super Hornet sale to Kuwait in November 2016. At the time, Kuwait was considering a purchase of up to 40 aircraft to replace its current fleet of legacy Hornets, and the department estimated the sale could rack up a value of up to $10.1 billion.
The deal was originally seen as a lifeline for Boeing that would allow the company to keep the Super Hornet in production into the early 2020s. However, in its fiscal year 2019 budget release, the U.S. Navy rolled out an ambitious plan to buy 110 Block III Super Hornets over the next five years.
That level of procurement will keep the production line humming until 2025, Dan Gillian, Boeing’s F/A-18 and E/A-18 program manager, told Defense News earlier this week.
Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.