Satellite imagery acquired by DigitalGlobe shows the expansion of Kuwait’s Ali Al Salem airbase. Imagery from April 2018 published on Google Earth suggests that 24 aircraft hangars are under construction along with a large maintenance hangar and a new runway. According to published contracts, the work is being executed by the Fouad Alghanim & Sons group and will be completed by April 2021. Given the structures, the expansion will likely support the full complement of Kuwait’s next generation fighter aircraft on the airbase’s southern section.
In April 2016, the country finalized an order for 28 Eurofighter including six two-seat trainer through Italian defense firm Finmeccanica (now Leonardo). Kuwaiti pilots have reportedly begun training in Italy to fly the aircraft. Kuwait is slated to take delivery of its first batch in Q4 2020, according to a November update by Air Vice Marshal Adnan Al-Fadhli.
Kuwait makes up the Gulf’s core four countries which have purchased the fighter including Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar. Although Kuwait is setting up the additional facilities, Defence Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah established a committee of inquiry in January to look into potential financial irregularities in acquiring the aircraft. The move is a part of a broader shift to position Kuwait as a hub for global business. According to the 2018 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Kuwait ranked 85th out of 180 in 2017, down from 43rd in 2013.