Kenya repulses Al Shabaab with aerial firepower
SEE ALSO :Somalia's Al Shabaab executes five menAccording to military Intelligence and Defence News magazine, Kenya has modernised its forces, which makes it the most modern in the region, hence the efficiency with which it has repulsed Al Shabaab without incurring heavy losses compared with the other troops deployed for the same purpose.
Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Burundi, without aerial firepower, have largely fought a classical warfare, with ground forces anchoring the onslaught.
In the process Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and Burundi, without a single fighter jet have jointly lost over 2,500 troops for the time they have been in Somalia, because the Al Shabaab forced them to fight a guerrilla war. Kenya Defence Force (KDF) has lost 12 – five in direct combat and seven to accidents. In a series of articles published in Intelligence and Defence News, military defence expert David Goldman says, “Kenya army’s 50-Air Calvary Division (ACB) has acquired the much dreaded ground attack helicopters from Russia. The 50-ACB obtained about 16 units of the dreaded ground attack MI-28 attack helicopters after the success of the unit in Somalia operation.” The helicopters were acquired at the end of last year and used to ‘soften’ the militia fighters, especially smoking them out of their hideouts. Training pilots
Mr Goldman says the Air Calvary has been instrumental in weakening Al Shabaab and rescuing ground forces under attack besides carrying out precise attacks on enemy troops. The Government ordred for more last year.
The commonest armament among the MI-28s is a pair of 8 Ataka missile racks along with 2 B-13L rocket pods, each able to carry 5 S-13 rockets.
Other rocket options include two B-8 rocket pods, each able to carry up to 20 S-8 rockets. The 30 mm chain gun is a staple amongst all MI-28 combat loads. According to defense analysts Kenya defence forces are currently testing four units of the Hokum, Ka-50 gunship helicopter dreaded for its speed and precisions. Nato says the intimidating, highly versatile and fast Kamov Ka-50 ‘Black Shark’ or ‘Hokum A’ is a deadly support attack helicopter. KDF has acquired 16 units of the gunship helicopter that were commissioned for use at Laikipia Airbase, Kenya’s largest air base in February this year after their successful delivery.
The magazine says, “While the equipment was not directly linked to the operation in Somalia, the type of aircraft used to transport the equipment was quite large and could have been carrying parts of French made defense aircrafts.” Rafale is reputed to be one of the best fighter jets Nato used during the ouster of former Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi last year.
They replaced Mirage F1, manufactured by French aircraft makers, Dassault.