ADDIS ABABA – The U.S. has delivered six MD-530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters to the Kenya Army’s Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) on Saturday, according to the US Africa Command.
“The arrival of these helicopters underscores our commitment to our Kenyan defense partners and our shared collective efforts to address security and stability in the region,” said U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, commander at U.S. Africa Command.
“We are proud of our robust relationship and appreciate the Government of Kenya’s continued partnership,” he said in a statement Africom sent to The Monitor.
The helicopters were delivered earlier today with more than 100 guests including U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael D. Turello, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), and Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) officials, attending the ceremony.
CJTF-HOA says its service members train with KDF members on many different specialties, ranging from medical assistance to combat techniques, sharing each other’s best practices.
“The tails of these U.S. manufactured helicopters and broad-range programs showcase how we are working together across the Kenyan Defense Forces,” said Turello.
“This demonstrates how the U.S. remains fully committed to providing relevant and timely training and equipment to bolster the KDF capabilities,” he added.
The Kenyan government purchased the first batch of helicopters through the Foreign Military Sales program, which facilitates sales of U.S. arms, defense equipment, services and military training to foreign governments.
“This event is not only a culmination of the journey that began in 2016, but also a milestone for our Air Force to modernize the Kenyan Defense Forces,” said Gen. Samson Mwathethe, chief of KDF.
“The integration of the MD-530F into our inventory will go a long way in enhancing our capability to operate and continue our security involvement, and we appreciate this achievement by cooperation with our allies,” the general said.
The helicopters are capable of performing a variety of scout, attack, and close air support missions, which will enhance KDF operations, according to US Africa Command or Africom. Included with the purchase of the helicopters is a multi-year sustainment package, which will ensure the longevity of the aircraft.
“In getting the MD-530 aircraft we are proving ourselves as an effective force multiplier on the battlefield,” said Mwathethe. “The successful delivery of these assets could not have come at a better time for us.”
The second delivery of six helicopters is scheduled to happen in the near future.
Photo Captions: Two recently delivered MD 530F helicopters of the Kenya Defence Forces.