Kenya to purchase military aircrafts, weapons from US in anti alshabab war

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US-made Air Tractor AT-802 L

The deal will see Kenya purchase 12 Air Tractor AT-802L, two AT-504 Trainer aircraft, weapons package, technical support and program management from the US.

By John Thiongo, john@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – Kenyan defense forces is scheduled to receive $418M state of the art military aircrafts and weapons after the US State Department approved a proposed foreign military sale to Kenya.

The deal will see Kenya purchase 12 Air Tractor AT-802L, two AT-504 Trainer aircraft, weapons package, technical support and program management from the US.

“This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in statement on Monday.

“The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on January 19, 2017,” it added.

The proposed sale is part of US foreign and national security deal aimed at improving the security of its strongest regional security leader partner who has undertaken to fight al Shabaab and has contributed troops to African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

The notice of the potential sale is requirement by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded but considering the role played by KDF in Amisom, the deal is as good as done.

The sale will be handled by the prime contractor namely L-3 Communications, Platform Integration Division, Waco, Texas with no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

The proposed sale implementation requires the assignment of at least five contractor representatives in Kenya.

The acquisition of the Air Tractor aircraft will bolster KDF’s Close Air Support (CAS) ability because the planes are short-field aircraft capable of using precision munitions and cost effective logistics and maintenance.

The sale will supplement KDF’s F-5 aircraft with more efficient combat aircraft that will be and positioned much closer to the conflict area than the F-5 fleet which have to be deployed form the Laikipa Air base.

KDF and the government have embarked on the modernisation of its military aircraft and is capable of absorbing these aircraft especially with the training of several pilots in the US and Jordan where more fighter jets are expected soon.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, however reiterated that the proposed sale of the equipment and support to Kenya will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

In December, KDF received a donation of eight Bell Huey II helicopters from the US to support its war against Al Shabaab.

The helicopters are improved versions of the decades-old Bell UH-1H combat operation helicopters.

The Bell UH-1H Huey is a daily workhorse with an expansive cabin providing multi-mission flexibility and a standard seating of 12 people.

The supply to Kenya also includes aircraft spare parts, special tools, operator and maintainer training, read a March 16 notice on the US Federal Business Opportunities website.

©Alleastafrica and agencies 

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