Kenya buys six MD-530F helicopters from US as part of KDF modernisation plan

Kenya Defence Forces pilots conduct a fly test of the six MD-530F helicopters purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program/ COURTESY 

Kenya has bought six MD-530F helicopters from America through the United States Foreign Military Sales Programme.

The United States Embassy in Nairobi made the announcement on Thursday.

The hand over was done under US Army Major General Michael D Turello, the commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, and Ambassador Kyle McCarter, hailed the purchase as an important moment in the US-Kenya relationship.

Chief of the Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe presided over the commissioning of the helicopters in Embakasi, Nairobi.

“The purchase of the helicopters fixed with contemporary airborne and armament systems is part of the KDF modernisation programme,” KDF said.

“The six MD-530F helicopters are emblematic of the decades-long security partnership between Kenya and the United States. These helicopters are tangible examples of our joint commitment to the fight against terrorism, and Kenya’s willingness to invest in its own security,” Ambassador McCarter said.

“The United States is here to support the KDF’s ongoing modernization efforts and realize our mutual security objectives in the region.”

This comes shortly after the blame game between the US and Kenyan officials over the handling of the Manda Bay attack by Al Shabaab terrorists.

According to the New York Times, Americans criticised the Kenya Defence Forces over the January 5 attack at Camp Simba, as Kenyan soldiers reportedly hid in the grass during the attack that saw three Americans killed.

“Many of the local Kenyan forces, assigned to defend the base, hid in the grass while other American troops and support staff were corralled into tents, with little protection, to wait out the battle,” NYT said in the article published on Wednesday.

On the same day, the KDF rubbished the article.

“It is strange where the news report is coming from and why at this time when we are waiting for investigations to be concluded. We can only have a correct and factual account of the happenings once the report is finalised,” Military Spokesperson Colonel Paul Njuguna told the Nation.

The Joint Board of Inquiry was initiated days after the US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle

McCarter said on Twitter; “Despite recent media reports, KDF, as always, responded in full force alongside US troops at Camp Simba. Together we remain committed to decimating al-Shabaab”.

 

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