The Kuwaiti armed forces have been found to be using Israeli military technology, despite the Arab country not recognizing the Jewish state and imposing a decades-long trade embargo. Shephard Media reports that several Kuwaiti National Guard vehicles appear to have been outfitted with Israeli-made optical sensors.
The technology, which is fitted to the turret of the National Guard’s Pandur armored vehicles, is known as the Multi-Threat Detection System (MTDS) and warns the vehicle crew if they are being targeted by anti-tank weapons on the ground or laser-guided bombs from aircraft.
A spokesperson from Elbit Systems confirmed that the sensor photographed on the turret of the Kuwait National Guard vehicle was its MTDS product. However, he stressed that Elbit Systems had not sold the sensor to any Middle Eastern countries.
The Pandur vehicles operated by the Kuwait National Guard were built by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS)-Steyr, a Vienna-based subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation. The sensor appears on the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) variant of the Pandur, which is outfitted with a 25mm cannon.
The Israeli technology is fitted to the guard’s newer batch of Pandur 6x6 vehicles, which were acquired around the 2013/14 timeframe and built at GDELS-Steyr facility in Simmering, Austria, which has since closed. It is not known how many IFV variants the Kuwaitis operate.
Photos taken in March 2014 show Kuwaiti soldiers training on the new Pandur vehicles, including an IFV platform with the Israeli MTDS already present. This suggests that the Kuwaitis received the vehicles with the technology already installed and were not fitted to the vehicles after delivery.
GDELS-Steyr did not provide comment when requested.