NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 — The US State Department has approved the possible sale, to the Kenya Defence Forces, of 14 weaponised aircrafts valued at Sh43 billion.
The cost is also expected to cover the weapons package, technical support and programme management of the 12 Air Tractor aircrafts and the two training crafts.
In its notification to congress, The Defense Security Cooperation Agency recommended the sale on the grounds that it will bolster efforts to counter Al Shabaab in Somalia as the AT- 802L are more fiscally efficient and able to be pre-positioned much closer to the conflict area than the current aging F-5 fleet.
“The proposed sale provides a needed capability in the ongoing efforts to counter al-Shabaab. The platform maximizes the Kenyan Defense Force’s Close Air Support (CAS) ability because it is a short-field aircraft capable of using precision munitions and cost effective logistics and maintenance.” The notification reads.
The Agency has also approved the sale on the grounds that it will not alter the military balance in the region or adversely impact the US defence readiness.
“This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a strong regional partner who is a regional security leader undertaking critical operations against alShabaab and troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).”