France sells military helicopters to Kuwait in €1 billion deal

Caracale Helico

Caracale Helico

France will supply 30 military helicopters to Kuwait in a deal worth over one billion euros ($1.1 billion) that French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed in the Gulf state on Tuesday.

The agreement to buy the versatile Airbus Caracal helicopters is part of a 2.5 billion euro package of deals that the two countries agreed in October 2015.

France has given Kuwait military support since the 1990 invasion of the country by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces.

The two countries are also fighting together in the international coalition against the Islamic State jihadist group.

“With this deal, Kuwait further strengthens the strategic partnership which has bound together our two countries for several decades, while we are currently engaged side-by-side in the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria,” Le Drian said in a statement, using the Arabic term for Islamic State.

Kuwait’s army will use 24 of the helicopters mainly for search and rescue missions and for transport purposes, but they are also fitted with machine guns allowing them to offer ground troops cover from the air.

The Kuwait National Guard will operate the remaining six helicopters.