JANUARY 24, 2020 – The United States delivered six MD-530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters to the Kenya Army’s Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) at Embakasi Barracks during a symbolic handover ceremony, Jan. 23, 2020.
Over 100 guests were in attendance at the ceremony, which featured remarks by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael D. Turello, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa; and Kenyan Defense Force (KFD) officials.
CJTF-HOA 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.”
The ceremony underscored the strong U.S.-Kenya partnership and ongoing efforts to combat terrorism in the region.
“A partnership with the Kenyan Defense Force is one of our most important partnerships in Africa and keystone in East Africa,” said Turello. “We are grateful for your continued leadership against forces that wish to do us harm.”
The Kenyan government purchased the first batch of helicopter 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 helicopters are capable of performing a variety of scout, attack, and close air support missions, which will enhance KDF operations. 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 ceremony commenced with a fly over of three MD-530Fs, a symbolic exchange of a miniature MD-530F helicopter from Turello to the Mwathethe and the KDF.
“I wish to register our appreciation for the government of the United States of America and the sustained partnership with Kenya in the field of security,” said Mwathethe. “I want to thank the Department of Defense for providing these resources and I am confident with this new capability we shall reap optimum benefits from this investment.
The second delivery of six helicopters is scheduled to happen in the near future.
Story by Tech. Sgt. Ashley Taylor
Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa