The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of a potential sale of 80 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II All-Up-Round Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support services to the Kuwait Air Force.
Under the estimated $105m Foreign Military Sale (FMS) programme, Kuwait has also requested for 26 CATM-9X-2 Captive Air Training Missiles, 2 CATM-9X-2 Block II Missile Guidance Units, 8 AIM-9X-2 Block II Tactical Guidance Units, 2 Dummy Air Training Missiles as well as containers.
The proposed sale of AIM-9X-2 missiles will help the Kuwait Air Force to modernise its fighter aircraft to better support its own air defence needs and also enhance the nation’s interoperability with the US and other central command nations.
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a family of heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile mostly carried by fighter aircraft and recently were integrated onto certain gunship helicopters.
The launch-and-leave air combat missile uses passive infrared (IR) energy for acquisition and tracking and can be employed in near beyond visual range and within visual range arenas.
The missile features a fifth-generation seeker and thrust vectoring control that provides unprecedented performance and extremely high off-boresight capability, which gives a pilot first-shot, first-kill dominance.
Raytheon Missile Systems will be the prime contractor.
Kuwait’s air force currently operates the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet as its fighter aircraft, which is a twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed for dogfights and attacking ground targets.
The fighter aircraft have flown missions over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch in the 1990s and also participated in military exercises with the air forces of neighbouring Gulf nations.
Kuwait received eight F/A-18D and 32 F/A-18C Hornets from Boeing in October 1991, which replaced its A-4KU Skyhawks.
As of 2008, Kuwait had 39 F/A-18C/D Hornets in its active service.
Image: An AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II missile put on display has been selected by Kuwait to modernise its fighter aircraft. Photo: Lorax.