Kenya Eyes New Ksh 173M Lethal US Army Choppers

  • Kenya Defence Forces pilots conduct a flight test of the six MD-530F helicopters purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program
    Kenya Defence Forces pilots conduct a flight test of the six MD-530F helicopters purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program
    Courtesy
  • Kenya is looking to purchase new attack and reconnaissance helicopters from the United States army.

    According to a US Army spokesman Kenya is among three countries that have shown interest in procuring new MD 530s

    The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is looking to increase the number of its defence arsenal after it commissioned six new MD 530F helicopters in January 2020.

    “We are working towards resuming production for Kenya as part of their next aircraft procurement," the spokesperson told Janes, an international defence publication.

    MD 530F helicopters at a hanger.
    MD 530F helicopters at a hanger.
    Courtesy Business Jet

    “We have two MD 530s on the production line that were originally procured for Afghanistan, but which are currently under a Stop Work order. We are working towards resuming production for Kenya as part of their next aircraft procurement,” the spokesperson added.

    The purchase of helicopters is part of the KDF modernisation programme.

    The MD 530F, which was first manufactured in 1984, requires a one-person crew and can transport up to 3 passengers. It is favoured due to its maximum operating altitude of 20,000', a normal cruise speed of 120 KTS/138 MPH, and a 229 NM/264 SM seats-full range. 

    The MD 530F has a 00' balanced field length and 00' landing distance and the cabin measures 04'04" high, 04'06" wide, and 03'06" long. It has a total baggage capacity of 10.00 ft^3; 10.00 ft^3 being internal and 00.00 ft^3 being external.

    The average price for a pre-owned MD 530F is Ksh173,500,000 million. In 2021, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) received the new helicopters that were commissioned by then Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe at Embakasi, Nairobi.

    KDF explained that the MD 530F Cayuse Warrior choppers are of modern generation attack. They cost approximately Ksh 141 billion.

    They can be deployed in tactical, reconnaissance and transport operations. It can also carry out airborne law enforcement, executive and personnel transport, air medical services, search and rescue (SAR), firefighting and other public safety missions. 

    Since they are armed they aid troops to engage targets on the ground, such as enemy infantry and armoured fighting vehicles. The helicopters can also provide direct and accurate close air support for ground troops.

    Retired Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe receives six US-made light attack helicopter gunships at the Joint Helicopter Command in Embakasi, Nairobi.
    Retired Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe receives six US-made light attack helicopter gunships at the Joint Helicopter Command in Embakasi, Nairobi.
    The Standard

    KDF also explained that the choppers were fixed with contemporary airborne and armament systems.

    According to experts, the armament system entails carrying explosive devices that can be accurately delivered from the planes while airborne.  The system handles some of the most delicate weapons in the military, from explosives to bombs and rockets.

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