The US has delivered six light attack helicopters to the Kenyan military weeks after an al-Shabaab attack on a US base there killed three Americans. The move comes amid a debate in US foreign policy circles about withdrawing significant US forces from Africa.
On Thursday, six MD-530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters arrived at Embakasi Barracks in eastern Nairobi, where a symbolic handover ceremony transferred the aircraft from US Army to the Kenyan Army’s Joint Helicopter Command, according to a press release by US Africa Command (AFRICOM).
“In getting the MD-530 aircraft we are proving ourselves as an effective force multiplier on the battlefield,” Kenyan Defense Force Chief Gen. Samson Mwathethe said during the ceremony. “The successful delivery of these assets could not have come at a better time for us.”
The helicopters, which are modified versions of the civilian MD 500 commonly used by police and forestry departments for observation, were bought through the Foreign Military Sales program run by the US Department of State. The deal is valued at $1.4 billion and includes training and logistics support, as well as a second batch of six helicopters, Air Force-Technology reported.