GKN on verge of pounds 500m vehicle order from Kuwait

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The Independent Online
GKN is set to win an armed vehicle contract worth pounds 500m from Kuwait following a compromise between the ruling Sabah family and Kuwait's parliament over the defence budget, writes Adel Darwish.

The emirate will almost certainly order 136 Warrior mechanised combat vehicles made by GKN and 263 Piranha armed personnel carriers made by GKN under special licence from the Swiss company Mowag.

The order is smaller than the original 400 Piranhas and 250 Warriors that GKN, helped by the Ministry of Defence, has been discussing with the Kuwaitis since last December. But the compromise, between parliament and the Defence Minister, Sheikh Ali al-Sabah, means a big reduction in buying arms prescribed by a US-devised defence plan.

The plan caused a row early this year in Kuwait's parliament as members accused some of the Sabah family of acting as local agents for defence contractors and of buying arms for reasons unconnected with defence needs.

The Kuwaitis signed joint defence pacts with Britain, France and the US, and will sign another pact with Russia when Sheikh Ali al-Sabah visits Moscow next month. Each pact included the purchase of large quantities of military hardware. But American companies have so far had the lion's share of this policy.

A GKN spokesman refused to confirm the deal while 'serious negotiations were still going on'.