Kenya’s military commissioned on Thursday six MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters purchased from the United States.
Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe spoke at a January 23 commissioning event at Joint Helicopter Command at the Embakasi Garrison in southeast Nairobi.
Mwathethe expressed appreciation for Kenya’s military partnership with the United States to U.S. Army Major General Michael Turello, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), who was present at the event.
“In getting the MD-530 aircraft we are proving ourselves as an effective force multiplier on the battlefield,” Mwathethe said, according to U.S. Africa Command. “The successful delivery of these assets could not have come at a better time for us.”
CJTF-HOA supports the Kenya Defence Forces in its fight against the Somalia-based al-Shabaab Islamist militant group. Kenya contributes to the African Union’s AMISOM mission against the group.
“The six MD-530F helicopters are emblematic of the decades-long security partnership between Kenya and the United States. These helicopters are tangible examples of our joint commitment to the fight against terrorism, and Kenya’s willingness to invest in its own security,” U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter said.
“The United States is here to support the KDF’s ongoing modernization efforts and realize our mutual security objectives in the region.”
Based on the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse single-engine light helicopter, the MD 530F delivers increased operational capabilities, greater mission versatility and superior performance in the execution of a broad range of mission profiles, according to the company.
The order included the DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System, along with an FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Fixed-Forward Sighting System, FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 machine gun pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods.
The U.S. State Department had previously approved the potential sale of up to 12 MD 530s to Kenya in May 2017 to replace the KDF’s MD 500s.
The proposed sale included M151 high-explosive warhead rockets, 2.75-inch M274 smoke signature warhead rockets, and 400,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.