State Department approves Kuwaiti M1A1 tank deal

The U.S. State Department approved Kuwait’s possible purchase of hundreds of M1A1 Abrams tanks from the United States.

U.S. M1A1 Abrams tanks, part of Charlie Company, 1st Tank Battalion, maintain a defense position north of the intersection of Highway 1 and 27 in Iraq on April 1, 2003. The U.S. State Department recently approved a potential sale of M1A1 tanks to Kuwait. File Photo by Rex Features/UPI | License Photo
U.S. M1A1 Abrams tanks, part of Charlie Company, 1st Tank Battalion, maintain a defense position north of the intersection of Highway 1 and 27 in Iraq on April 1, 2003. The U.S. State Department recently approved a potential sale of M1A1 tanks to Kuwait. File Photo by Rex Features/UPI | License Photo

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which manages the Foreign Military Sales program, said the proposed deal for 218 tank hulls with 120mm guns and AGT-1500 engines carries an estimated value of $29 million.

The Kuwaiti purchase would support the gulf country’s M1A2 tank recapitalization.

“This potential sale is associated with Congressional Notification 16-66 which was notified to Congress on December 12, 2016, regarding recapitalization of 218 Kuwait M1A2 tanks,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in its notification to Congress on Monday. “Subsequent to the notification, Kuwait requested 218 M1A1 tank hulls from U.S. inventory be provided and upgraded … using Kuwait’s current fleet of tanks due to its interest in maintaining operational readiness.”

The deal would include transportation and other logistics support for the tanks.

The tank hulls would come from U.S. inventory, the defense agency said, and the agreement would not require the assignment of U.S. government personnel or contractor representatives to Kuwait.

By Richard Tomkins