TURIN: Kuwait's Ambassador to Italy Sheikh Azzam Al-Sabah and Deputy Commander of the Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Staff Bandar Al-Mezyen with other military top brass. - KUNA

TURIN: Kuwait Air Force received on Tuesday the first batch of two Eurofighter Typhoons from Italy's Leonardo Group, the manufacturer of the world's most advanced new generation swing-role combat aircraft. The handing-over ceremony, held at Caselle airbase in Turin province, north Italy, gathered, Ambassador to Italy Sheikh Azzam Al-Sabah and Deputy Commander of the Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Staff Bandar Al-Mezyen and other military top brass from Kuwait, as well as Marco Zoff - the Managing Director of the Aircraft Division at Leonardo, and Herman Claesen - the CEO of Eurofighter.

The two aircraft of "the Kuwaiti Eurofighter Typhoon squadron," will arrive in Kuwait next week, Air Vice-Marshal Staff Al-Mezyen said on the sidelines of the ceremony. "This is a milestone in our comprehensive strategy to bring about a quantum leap in the preparedness of Kuwait Air Force and the fruit of long a history of the defense cooperation with Italy, notably Leonardo Group," he noted. The State of Kuwait has made tremendous efforts to acquire a Eurofighter Typhoon squadron since 2015 with a view to securing the best aircraft that can meet the current and future needs of the defense forces, he said, commending the efforts of the Kuwaiti leadership in this regard.

"The new squadron of aircraft meets the world's latest standards of multi-role fighters in terms of electronic warfare, the fastest ability to respond, the advanced and diversified missile weaponry, and new E-scan radar (CAPTOR-E)," he pointed out. "This will give momentum to the national defense abilities and upgrade the skills of the Kuwaiti military pilots," he said, praising the partnership with the Italian Air Force. The expanded cooperation with the Italian Leonardo Group helped ensure that the design of the latest generation of these aircraft best suits the Kuwaiti standards, Air Vice-Marshal Al-Mezyen went on.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Sheikh Azzam took pride in "this great strategic achievement," saying it opens wide horizons for the defense partnership with Italy. He lauded Italy's great role in supporting peace, security and stability in the Arabian Gulf region and in the world at large. "This achievement falls in the framework of decades of cooperation and solidarity between both countries in the face of common risks since the Kuwait liberation war," Ambassador Sheikh Azzam noted. "The Eurofighter project is not only an aircraft acquisition deal but also a milestone in the Kuwaiti strategy to upgrade its defense forces and a crucial moment in the close friendship between both countries," he affirmed.

"Today's achievement opens a new chapter in the defense cooperation between Kuwait and Italy and lays the groundwork of the development of the industrial, technical, educational and training sectors in the State of Kuwait," the Kuwaiti diplomat added. On a similar note, Zoff said the delivery of two Typhoons to Kuwait opens a new important chapter in not only the industrial cooperation but the bilateral relations as well. Leonardo Group, besides handing over the world's most advanced aircraft to Kuwait Air Force, is conveying a full range of integrated technical service that will upgrade the Kuwaiti defense capabilities, he noted.

Meanwhile, Eurofighter CEO Claesen welcomed Kuwait joining the Eurofighter family, noting that the multi-purpose twin-engine, supersonic aircraft incorporates the latest technologies and is manufactured using advanced materials, industrial processes and assembly techniques. The fusion of the aircraft's on-board active and passive sensors gives pilots superior situational awareness and net-centric operational capability.

The Eurofighter Typhoon, selected by nine Air Forces, has flown over 580,000 hours, from Europe to the South Atlantic and the Middle East, he added. At the end of the ceremony, Ambassador Azzam, Air Vice-Marshal Staff Al-Mezyen Eurofighter CEO Claesen, Managing Director of Leonardo Aircraft Division Zoff and Group Captain Staff Sultan Al-Sabah signed their names on a commemorative plaque on this occasion. The Kuwaiti delegation to the event also included Brig Staff Essam Al-Aboud, Col Faisal Al-Seif, Col Thafer Al-Ajmy, and Col Ahmad Al-Meseibeih, as well as military attache in Rome Commodore Staff Khaled Al-Otaibi and head of Eurofighter Program Col Saleh Al-Matar. - KUNA