US Govt approves Sh43 billion military aircraft and technology sale to Kenya
On Monday, Jan 23rd 2017;
The US State Department approved a possible Sh43 billion ($418 million) military aircraft and technology sale to Kenya.
This is part of the US State Department’s more than Sh180 billion deals with UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Kenya, which will include air-to-air missiles and threat detection systems. The foreign military sales are pending Congressional approval.
On Kenya, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Monday the approval was for the possible sale of up to 12 Air Tractor AT-802L planes and two AT-504 trainer aircraft, a weapons package, technical support and program management.
The converted cropdusters will aid Kenya in the fight against al-Shabaab who frequently attacks Kenya.
The prime contractor is L3 Technologies Inc, formerly known as L-3 Communications, at its Platform Integration Division, in Waco, Texas.
The Air Tractors are more efficient and able to fly closer to conflict zones than Kenya’s aging Northrop F-5E fighters, according to the DSCA.
“The platform maximises the Kenyan Defense Force’s close air support ability because it is a short-field aircraft capable of using precision munitions and cost effective logistics and maintenance,” the DSCA notice states.
The type of the plane to be acquired is an agricultural aircraft that may also be adapted into fire-fighting or armed versions.
The AT-802 carries a chemical hopper between the engine firewall and the cockpit and another one under the belly. This is the latest arms deal from the US that was started under President Barack Obama.
Last year, the US donated eight helicopters valued at Sh11 billion that will be used in ferrying soldiers and medical and casualty evacuations.
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