The Kenya Defence Forces has commissioned two military transport aircraft to help in its operations.
The planes were received by President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) and Chief of Defence Forces Gen Samson Mwathethe on January 30, 2020 in a ceremony at the Embakasi Garrison, Nairobi.
According to the military, the acquisition of the planes came after a rigorous process that took four years of research on specifications, development and follow ups to ensured the manufacturer delivered the right plane for the job.
“After a rigorous process that has taken almost four years, Kenya Air Force is proud to join other Air Forces US, Australia, Italy, Chad, Zambia and Morocco among others that fly the plane,” said Kenya Air Force Commander Major General Francis Ogolla
The Spartan C-27J planes will now replace the Buffalo aircraft which was retired in 2014 after being in operation since 1976. Officials said the new military plane has capability of airlifting heavy military equipment.
An Italian company, Leonardo, delivered the two aircraft.
Officials said the Kenya Air Force is set to retire and replace its ageing DHC-5 Buffalo fleet to improve its logistical efficiency, and most importantly, boost the overall operational capabilities.
The C-27J ‘Spartan’ was developed using engines and systems of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. It first flew on September 24,1999.
The multi-purpose transport aircraft is intended for transporting troops and materials, paratroops and cargo airdrops, medical evacuation, search and rescue, military logistic supplies, humanitarian support, fire fighting and support for civil emergency operations among other roles
It can carry up to 46 paratroopers. In its medical role, it can carry 36 stretchers and six attendants. Its maximum payload is estimated at 10 tonnes.
According to KDF, Kenya is the fourth African nation to order the C-27J after Morocco, Chad and Zambia. Other customers include the Air Forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, United States, Mexico, Australia, Peru and Slovakia.
Last month, the KDF received six new US-made light attack helicopter gunships. These were part of an initial order of 12 light attack and reconnaissance helicopters.
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The helicopters were acquired from the United States part of the $253 million (Sh25 billion) arms deal that Nairobi signed with Washington.