The French Defense Ministry has announced that France will deliver an undisclosed number of sophisticated Mirage F-1 fighter jets to Kuwait. According to well-informed sources the arms deal involves 32 aircraft with spare parts at an estimated $300 million. The sale, in exchange for oil, also involves the construction of a radar network and early warning system, according to sources. The agreement, signed last Friday, makes Kuwait the first Middle East country to acquire these jets which so far have been sold to South Africa and Spain and are used by the French Air Force.
Sheikh Saad of Kuwait issued an official communique here stating that “we are free to use these planes when and wherever we please.” He added that the Mirage F-1 jets, which are equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, “are the most highly perfected combat jets currently being used.” France is expected to begin delivery of the jets, built by the Das-sault-Breguet Company, at the beginning of 1975.
French and Pakistani Air Force pilots will train the Kuwaiti Air Force pilots in flying the jets. The French beat out the United States which was offering Kuwait the Northrop F-5 Tiger and McDonnel Douglas Phantom F-4 fighter and strike jet aircraft. A Kuwaiti military mission had also visited the Soviet Union earlier this year to inspect MIG-21 and MIG-23 jets. French-built combat jets, the low-flying deep-penetration Mirage-3 bombers, have been purchased in the past by Lebanon, Israel, Libya, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.