KDF boss General Mwathethe commissions six MD 530F helicopters


KDF boss General Mwathethe commissions six MD 530F helicopters
Part of the MD530F fleet during a fly past during the commissioning ceremony at the Joint Helicopter Command at Embakasi. PHOTO| COURTESY

Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces (CDF) General Samson Mwathethe presided over the commissioning of six MD 530F helicopters on Thursday at the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) in Embakasi, Nairobi.

Speaking after receiving the helicopters from the US Government representative, Commanding Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Major General Michael Turello, General Mwathethe appreciated the US Government for its sustained bilateral relations with Kenya in various sectors key of which is security.

“Among other capabilities, the integration of the MD 530F into our inventory will go a long way in enhancing our capacity to operate in the contemporary security environment, and we appreciate that this achievement is underpinned by cooperation with our allies,” he said.

Kenya Defence Forces pilots conduct a fly test of the six MD-530F helicopters purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Commander Kenya Army, Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Walter Koipaton, said the helicopters purchased from the US are a great asset for the Kenya Army and will be crucial in supporting the infantry units in the defence of the country against land based aggression.

“The helicopters have come at a time when we most need them in our operations both within our borders and beyond. As you are aware, Kenya is currently involved in operations against terrorist organisations, notably the Al Shabaab in Somalia, as part of Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and along the Kenya-Somalia border,” said Lt Gen Koipaton.

The purchase of the helicopters fixed with contemporary airborne and armament systems is part of KDF’s modernisation programme which is fully funded by the Ministry of Defence.

Present during the commissioning ceremony were Principal Secretary Ministry of Defence Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed, Vice Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi, Assistant Chief of Defence Forces – Personnel and Logistics Major General Fatuma Ahmed, Asssistant Chief of Defence Forces Operations, Training and Doctrine Major General Jonah Mwangi and Deputy Army Commander Major General Thomas Chepkuto among other senior military officers from both Kenya Defence Forces and the US military.

The Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe hands over a model of the MD530F helicopter to Commander Kenya Army Lieutenant General Walter Koipaton. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe receives a model of the MD530F helicopters from the representative of the United States government Major General Michael Turello during the commissioning ceremony at Embakasi. PHOTO| COURTESY
The Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe hands over a model of the MD530F helicopter to Commander Kenya Army Lieutenant General Walter Koipaton. PHOTO| COURTESY

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Story By Kimeli Arap Kemei
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