The Reagan administration wants to sell Kuwait 40 F-18 fighter-bombers, which would make the tiny Persian Gulf state the first Arab country to have the advanced aircraft, a published report Thursday says.

The administration will notify Congress soon of its plans to go ahead with the sale, The Washington Post reported, citing unidentified Defense and State department sources. Congress must approve the sale.The United States and Kuwait have created an increasingly close security relationship since last year, when the United States committed naval forces to protect U.S.-flagged ships traveling through the war-torn Persian Gulf.

The deal could be worth $680 million to the manufacturer, McDonnell Douglas Co., said company spokesman Robert J. O'Brien.

But several State Department officials contacted by The Associated Press Wednesday night said they were unaware that any decision had been made.