MOGADISHU (Caasimada Online)–Kenya Air Force says it has acquired nine Fennec helicopters from the United Arab Emirates, amid rising deadly cross-border attacks by Al Shabaab group based in Somalia.
Kenya’s Air Force chief, Maj-Gen Francis Ogolla received helicopters at the Laikipia Air Base in Nanyuki, said, Cabinet Secretary for Defence Raychelle Omamo.
Omamo told journalists that the new aircraft would be used to support combat operations, search-and-rescue and medical evacuations, and escort heavy lift helicopters.
Fennec, an Airbus AS350, is a single-engine light utility helicopter originally designed and manufactured in France by Airbus Helicopters.
The UAE Army Aviation Brigade and the Air Force Special Operations Command operate a number of AS550C3 Fennec helicopters. The country received the helicopters from Airbus in 2008.
Kenya will now join France, Singapore, Thailand, Australian, Brazil, Denmark and the UAE militaries, which are currently using the helicopter.
The aircraft, with a grey paint scheme, were received in Nairobi early this month before they were moved to Nanyuki.