KDF sign deal with Swedish company to provide soldier kits

The Swedish company will also provide training equipment for live training exercises

A Kenyan Defence Force soldier keeps lookout on the coast near Burgabo village, Southern Somalia on December 14, 2011. Burgabo is a Somalian port village which has been secured by Kenyan forces as they advance further up the Somali coastline in search of Al-Shabaab fighters. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has reached an agreement with Saab AB, a Swedish aerospace and defence company to provide 800 soldier kits.

The agreement was reached in 2021 but details have only just emerged. According to Hans Lindgren, Head of Business Development at Saab’s Training & Simulation business unit, Saab won the long-running Kenyan Combat Training Centre (CTC) competition.

CTCs are weeks-long training events the KDF uses to simulate a combat deployment as best as possible.

According to Lindgren the order includes a complete, new generation solution for realistic live training and covers soldier systems (personnel detection devices), vehicle training systems, and latest Exercise Control System (EXCON) and communication system.

An EXCON is a type of exercise characterized by the imposition of constraints on some or all of the participating units by planning authorities with the principal intention of provoking types of interaction.

"We will be supplying around 800 soldier kits based on our deployable Gamer product line," Lindgren told Shephard. "The equipment will be based at the Kenyan Army’s School of Infantry in Isiolo."

KDF is no stranger to laser-based tactical engagement simulation systems (TESS), having been the recipients of the United States Department of Defense's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

A TESS is a training system for using weapons. Laser transmitters are typically used instead of bullets, larger rounds, or shorter-range guided weapons such as anti-tank missiles.

KDF has also used Saab equipment provided by the British Army during joint training as part of the UK’s Tactical Engagement Simulation in Kenya (TESIK) exercises.

Although Saab previously supplied TESS to South Africa, the company considers the Kenyan contract significant because "it could open many doors for us in Africa," explained Lindgren.

"A number of countries conduct cross-border training, and so we see a range of opportunities for the future," concluded Lindgren.

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