US firm to supply, maintain six KDF choppers in Sh140bn global deal

Wednesday March 18 2020

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers under Amisom patrol Kisimayu, Somalia, in November 2015.PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has awarded a US firm a contract for the provision of logistical support, maintenance and pilot training for its fleet of six new MD 530 Cayuse Warrior helicopters.

The fleet is part of a Sh140 billion five-year deal awarded to the American firm MD Helicopters in September 2017 to provide up to 150 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters to foreign air forces via the US Foreign Military Sales programme. The indefinite delivery and quantity contract was arranged through the US Army Contracting Command. Afghanistan has already received its first batch of 30 helicopters, valued at $177 million (Sh18 billion).

MD Helicopters, through CEO Lynn Tilton, says “it is pleased” that it was selected “to provide mentorship, maintenance expertise, and pilot and maintainer training to the Kenya Defence Forces”.

“Supported by the skilled men and women of the MD Helicopters team, our military operators have successfully flown hundreds of missions annually, maintaining operational readiness rates in excess of 90 per cent. We welcome the KDF to the global MD Helicopters family and are committed to exceed the training, support, and performance expectations of both our US army and KDF customer,” Ms Tilton added.

The contract, which became effective this month, will enable MD Helicopters to provide logistical support and training for KDF officers who will fly the choppers. They are already en-route to Kenya.



The helicopters will also have a US Army issued air worthiness release certification which allows for the potential deployment of various weapon systems.

According to MD Helicopters, the choppers can be used in reconnaissance and transport operations.

They can also carry out strikes, air medical services, search-and-rescue and fire-fighting missions.

“This contract has an initial period of performance through December 30, 2020.

“Transition training will take place at the MD Helicopters headquarters in Mesa, Arizona, while operations including field service support, armament, and gunnery training are scheduled for Laikipia Air Base,” said the company. “The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is a proven platform for light scout attack combat operations,” it added.


EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story misstated the correct value of the MD Helicopters contract with the Kenya Defence Forces. The Sh140 billion fixed price contract it quoted was for the provision of up to 150 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters to foreign air forces via the US Foreign Military Sales programme, and so is not a Kenya-only deal. The five-year contract also includes the management, delivery support, pilot training and maintenance of the helicopters.