Kenya bolster its military arsenal and buys 6 MD-530F helicopters from USA in the wake of increased Al-Shabab’s terror attacks

Kenya Defence Forces pilots conduct a fly test of the six MD-530F helicopters purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program.
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter hailed the purchase as an important moment in the U.S.-Kenya relationship.
  • The sale of helicopters to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) was made possible through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program.
  • The helicopters are designed to enhance scout attack, armed escort and close air attack capabilities of the air forces.

The United States Embassy in Nairobi announces the sale of six MD-530F helicopters to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) made possible through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program.

U.S. Army Major General Michael D. Turello, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, attended the ceremony.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter hailed the purchase as an important moment in the U.S.-Kenya relationship.

“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,” Ambassador McCarter said.

“The United States is here to support the KDF’s ongoing modernization efforts and realize our mutual security objectives in the region.”

MD-530F is designed to enhance scout attack, armed escort and close air attack capabilities of the air forces.

The multi-purpose armed helicopter can be deployed in tactical, reconnaissance and transport operations. It can also carry out airborne law enforcement, executive and personnel transport, air medical services, search-and-rescue (SAR), firefighting and other public safety missions.

The purchase comes in the wake of increased terror attacks by Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group Al-Shabab in Kenya which has left a dozen people dead including Americans.

The sale of the helicopters is representative of the U.S. “total package approach” of the United States Foreign Military Sales program, which includes not just the equipment but also a comprehensive spare parts and multi-year sustainment package to ensure the longevity of the aircraft.

A peek Inside the MD-530F helicopter

The MD 530F is 9.8m-long, 2.6m-high, and the diameter of its main rotor diameter is 8.38m. Its empty weight is 722kg and the maximum gross take-off weight is 1,406kg.

MD 530F can carry a useful load of 684kg and an external load of 979kg, and has a fuel capacity of 183kg. It is equipped with teardrop-shaped fuselage, which measures 7.04m-long and 1.4m-wide.

The cabin compartment provides seating for one pilot, one co-pilot and up to three personnel. Crew seats are fitted with four-point restraint harness system and the passenger seats feature three-point restraint system.

MD 530F also features tinted canopy panels, two anti-collision lights, jacking fittings, fuselage hard points, rain gutter set and position lights.

The machine gun pod features .50cal FN M3P machine gun. Its weapon system supports all types of 12.7mm x 99mm Nato ammunition rounds.

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