Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and US Ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec (centre) with US and KDF military officials celebrate the Huey II handover at Laikipia Airbase today.
The Kenya Air Force has received six of the eight (6 of 8) Huey II helicopters from The United States of America. The choppers were handed over to Defence Cabinet Secretary Ms Raychelle Omamo at Laikipia Air Base by the US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec today.
The US envoy said the choppers are part of the military cooperation between Kenya and the United States – an important part of the US Kenya relations in combating terror.
“The Huey II helos represent US’ largest single security cooperation initiative ever undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa. It is exciting to handover 6 of 8 Huey II helicopters today,” he observed.
He said the Kenya military cooperation is helping secure peace in the region & keeps both Kenya and US safe. The helicopters recently left Bell Helicopter’s facility in Ozark, Alabama, after upgrade work.
In September this year the US Department of Defence announced that it had awarded Bell Helicopter a foreign military sales contract worth $52.1 million (Ksh5.21 billion) for the supply of five Huey II helicopters and spares for Kenya.
According to the Defence Web, the Kenyan helicopters to be operated by the Kenya Air Force, are remanufactured aircraft that combine commercial Bell 212 dynamic components with the 1 800 shp Honeywell T53-L-703 engine – replacing the original Lycoming, leading to an increase in hover performance in hot conditions and increasing the maximum gross weight to 4 763 kg.
Along with the Bell Huey II kit installation, Bell Helicopter refurbishes the Bell UH-1H basic airframe to OEM standards (zero timing the airframe), provides a complete rewire, updates the avionics (including an optional glass cockpit) and offers a comprehensive selection of mission specific kits and customization.
Uganda to get five refurbished Huey. Other features according to Defence Web include rollover bulkheads, rupture-resistant fuel cells, wire strike protection and jettisonable crew doors. The Huey II has a useful load of 2 200 kg, endurance of 2.6 hours and max cruise speed of 196 km/h at maximum gross weight.
In addition to Kenya, Bell was in September awarded a $34.5 million (Ksh3.45 billion) contract for five helicopters for Uganda. Below are photos of the helicopters, courtesy of the US Embassy in Nairobi.