US State Dept Approves Kuwait Air Force Purchase of Four ISR King Air 350ERs

Variants of the King Air are in widespread use worldwide in the ISR role. Seen here are US Air Force MC-12W Liberty aircraft 09-0648 and 09-0624 on the ramp at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on June 26, 2015. Both have since been transferred to the US Army. Kuwait is now also to become an operator of the type with approval to purchase four ISR-configured King Air 350ERs. USAF/Senior Airman Cierra Presentado

US STATE Department approval has been granted for a possible Foreign Military Sale to Kuwait of four King Air 350ER intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft at an estimated cost of $259 million.  The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the proposed deal on February 21, saying that it had delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on the same day.

The planned purchase by Kuwait will include the four ISR King Air 350ERs with enhanced PT6A-67A engines and one spare engine; four AN/AAQ-35 Wescam MX-15HDi electro-optical and infrared imaging sensor turrets; four Selex Seaspray 7500E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars; AN/AAR-47 missile warning systems (MWS); AN/ALE-47 countermeasure dispenser systems; secure communications, cryptographic, and precision navigation equipment; Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Systems; aircraft modification and integration for ISR mission systems; facility design and construction; ground data processing systems and support equipment; spares and repair parts; support and test equipment; simulators, training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and programme support.

Additionally, one of the four aircraft will be further modified to accommodate VIP/senior leadership personnel for transport and medevac capability or command and control, and other related elements of logistical support.

The DSCA notes that the proposed sale will enable Kuwait to gather its own airborne ISR data.  This capability will improve Kuwait’s situational awareness, armed forces posture and armed forces capability to respond to threats.  Enhancing Kuwait’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, & Intelligence (C4I) capability will result in the potential for greater burden sharing.  The proposed sale of these items and services will establish Kuwait’s first dedicated airborne ISR fleet.  The King Air 350ER ISR is part of the Kuwait Air Force’s rapid expansion and modernization efforts, and is a priority for Kuwait and the United States, says the DSCA

The principal contractor will be Sierra Nevada Corporation of Hagerstown, Maryland.  There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.