Kenya to Receive 8 Hueys, 8 MD-500s Choppers From the U.S.

Nairobi — Kenya is set to receive 16 US-manufactured helicopters to bolster its ability to provide regional peace.

According to a statement from the White House, the helicopters include 8 Hueys and 8 MD-500s.

The consignment, it indicated is scheduled to arrive in the country between late 2024 and summer 2025 will have far reaching effects on Kenya's preparedness for regional peace keeping missions as well as scaling up the country's security.

"The delivery of the 16 helicopters marks a significant milestone in U.S.-Kenya defense cooperation. The Hueys will enhance Kenya's regional security capabilities, while the MD-500s will support peacekeeping missions," the White House said.

This delivery is part of a broader strategic investment by the United States in Kenya's defense sector, reflecting a long-term commitment to building Kenya's defense capabilities coming on the back of the two countries celebrating 60 years of ties.

Likewise, Kenya and the US have committed to signing a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the expansion of the Manda Bay Airfield in coastal Kenya.

The expansion will include the construction of a 10,000-foot runway, providing the necessary infrastructure to increase operations against the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

The acquisition of the aircrafts by Kenya comes amidst concerns of the safety of the Kenya Airforce fleet following a series of military plane crashes including the latest that claimed the life of the country's senior most military officer, Chief of Defense Forces General Francis Ogolla alongside 9 other officers.

The incident has intensified scrutiny on the Kenya Defence Forces' (KDF) aviation fleet, prompting urgent calls for comprehensive evaluations and upgrades with pundits attributing the tragedy to the use of aging aircraft.

General Ogolla perished when the Huey KDF aircraft he was traveling in crashed shortly after takeoff in the Sindar area in Elgeyo Marakwet.

The concerns revolve around the aging military fleet. Many of the KDF's aircraft have been in service for decades and are considered overdue for replacement or significant overhauls.

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