The U.S. State Department announced via the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on May 2, 2017 that it had approved a Kenyan request for military helicopters. The DSCA informed the U.S. Congress of the sale the previous day.
The total estimated value of the sale, if concluded, is $253 million.
Kenya had requested “twelve (12) MD 530F weaponized aircraft to include twenty-four (24) Heavy Machine Gun Pod (HMP) 400 systems; [t]wenty-four (24) M260 rocket launchers; four thousand and thirty-two (4,032) M151 rockets; one thousand five hundred and thirty-six (1,536) 2.75-inch M274 smoke signature warhead rockets; and four hundred thousand (400,000) rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.”
Also included in the approval are communications and navigation equipment, logistics support, training, and spare parts support.
The approval does not mean a sale has been completed.
The DSCA statement noted that the helicopters “will advance Kenya’s efforts to conduct scout and attack rotary wing aircraft operations in support of their AMISOM mission.” The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is a regional peacekeeping operation conducted by the African Union, with the support of the United Nations.
The MD530Fs will replace Kenya’s MD500 fleet. Once in service, the helicopters “will significantly enhance the Kenyan Army’s modernization efforts and increase interoperability with the U.S. Armed Forces and other partners in the region.” Moreover, they will assist Kenyan efforts to promote and maintain stability in the East Africa region.