Kuwait asks US for $2 bn in tank upgrades

Washington, Dec 16 (IANS) The US-based Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has said that Kuwait is seeking to make $1.7 billion worth of upgrades to its aging fleet of tanks, reports said on Friday.

On December 12, the US State Department notified Congress of the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to provide Kuwait capital to upgrade over 200 M1A2 Abrams tanks, Sputnik news reported.

Kuwait was seeking to increase the ability of tank crews to respond to infantry threats while remaining safe within their armoured vehicle.

Some of the upgrades include the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station II, the purchase of over 1,000 night vision goggles, Sincgars radios, as well as thermal management and cooling systems.

Included in the sale would be 480 7.62mm M240 machine guns and 240.50 caliber M2A1 machine guns, to be mounted on the vehicles.

The wishlist also includes 120mm gun tubes, second-generation Forward Looking Infrared gunsights, special armour, gunner primary sights, Counter Sniper and Anti-Materiel Mount hardware, and embedded diagnostics.

The DSCA stated, “This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US,

“By helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.”

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” asserted the weapons-sale committee.

Kuwait’s tank upgrades were only one of the several FMS deals to be considered by the US Congress in the next 30 days.

The others include TOW missiles for Morocco, Chinook helicopters for Saudi Arabia, and Apache helicopters for the United Arab Emirates.

The US Congress recently blocked a $1.15 billion request from Riyadh for M1A2 tanks, amid an increasing civilian death toll in Yemen.

–IANS

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