The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is scheduled to receive about KSh42 billion ($41.8 million) worth of 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 programme 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 – the Department’s lead agency for the execution of Security Cooperation programmes said in statement on Monday.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on January 19, 2017. The Statement said the proposed sale is part of US foreign and national security deal aimed at improving the security of one of the Horn of Africa’s strongest security partner and has contributed troops to African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
The sale will be handled by 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 Air Tractors are more efficient and able to fly closer to conflict zones than Kenya’s aging Northrop F-5E fighters… the short-field aircrafts are capable of using precision munitions and cost effective logistics and maintenance,” the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notice said.
This comes at a time when KDF has 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 last year, 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.