The United States yesterday delivered the final two of eight Bell Huey II helicopters to the Kenya Air Force. US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said the donation is the single largest to a foreign country in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This will help in our joint efforts to fight al Shabaab. The US will remain a steadfast partner in fighting terrorism and radicalisation,” he said. Godec added that the US values the government commitment to building a more peaceful and secure Kenya and East African region.
The Huey II helicopters will bolster KDF’s capacity to combat al Shabaab, an effort that will bring more stability and peace to East Africa. “These helicopters have the exceptional capacity to operate in hot and high-elevation environments, while being rugged enough to endure extended operations with minimal maintenance,” he added.
They will reinforce the KDF’s air assault capability to deploy Kenyan Rangers and other quick reaction forces. The choppers will also provide the KDF with the capacity to deliver the much-needed supplies to the front-line and to help save the lives of troops with vital medical evacuations.
“Our military cooperation with Kenya is one of the deepest and most important security relationships for the United States in Africa. We work to build our mutual security and peace throughout the region so that both of our countries are safer and more secure.”
Godec added. Early this year, the US government cleared the sale of 12 new American-made light attack helicopter gunships to Kenya. The deal has been approved despite opposition to an earlier weapons purchase deal Kenya had sought from Washington.