The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has received six modernized attack helicopters, in a ceremony presided over by Chief of the Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe.
In a tweet, KDF said the helicopters were purchased as part of the military modernization programme.
The attack helicopters are fixed with contemporary airborne and armament systems and were commission at the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), Embakasi.
Chief of the Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe presides over the commissioning of modern generation attack helicopters in Embakasi, Nairobi. The purchase of the helicopters fixed with contemporary airborne and armament systems is part of the KDF modernisation programme. pic.twitter.com/CJcr7OFNWT
— Kenya Defence Forces (@kdfinfo) January 23, 2020
Speaking during the ceremony, General Mwathethe appreciated the US Government for its sustained bilateral relations with Kenya in various sectors key of which is security.
“Among other capabilities, the integration of the MD 530F into our inventory will go a long way in enhancing our capacity to operate in the contemporary security environment, and we appreciate that this achievement is underpinned by cooperation with our allies,” he said.
According to Commander Kenya Army, Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Walter Koipaton, “The helicopters have come at a time when we most need them in our operations both within our borders and beyond. As you are aware, Kenya is currently involved in operations against terrorist organisations, notably the Al Shabaab in Somalia, as part of Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and along the Kenya-Somalia border.”
Kenya signed a Sh25 billion arms deal with Washington, which got the United States Congress approval in May 2017.
Six of the initial order of 12 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior scout and light-attack platforms were set to be delivered between April and August, 2019 but was postponed to December.
“Kenya will receive all six of the MD Helicopters Inc MD 530F Cayuse Warrior scout and light-attack platforms it ordered in 2018 by the end of this year, the manufacturer confirmed on September 13,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly said then.
In a statement, America’s Defence Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) noted that the arms deal would help modernize Kenya’s “rotorcraft fleet in order to improve border security, undertake operations against” Al-Shabaab.
A report by the US Congressional Research Service, the United States has pumped Sh40.4 billion into the fight against the extremist group in the last decade.
In 2018, KDF received 12 Bastion Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to improve border surveillance.