The Kenyan Air Force may have acquired four (or more) AS350 Ecureuil helicopters from UAE. Photos posted on Twitter shows four recently delivered AS350 Ecureuil (Fennec) helicopters.
The AS350 Ecureuil (Fennec) helicopters have been partially disassembled indicating that they were delivered in a cargo plane(s). As at this moment, it is unclear where the helicopters will be based, either at the Nairobi International Airport or elsewhere.
According to Margot Kiser, a journalist who first published the photographs, reported that eight former United Arab Emirates (UAE) Fennec helicopters have been purchased by Kenya for use in combat operations against the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group.
The Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo and Commander KAF Major General Francis Ogolla received the helicopters at the Laikipia Air Base, Nanyuki.
Images indicates #Kenya Air Force procurement of AS350 Ecureuil helicopters from an unknown source.
Geo-location confirms Nairobi Airport 1°18’54.50″S 36°55’35.23″E pic.twitter.com/UXazH5ed6H
— Joseph Dempsey (@JosephHDempsey) September 5, 2018
The Kenya Air Force (KAF) has received nine Fennec helicopters from the United Arab Emirates. The Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo and Commander KAF Major General Francis Ogolla received the helicopters at the Laikipia Air Base, Nanyuki. #TukoImaraAngani pic.twitter.com/oWhERSYrIx
— Kenya Defence Forces (@kdfinfo) September 15, 2018
The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS350 Écureuil (Squirrel) (now H-125) is a single-engine light utility helicopter originally designed and manufactured in France by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). In North America, the AS350 is marketed as the AStar or Fennec.
Over the years, the Kenyan Air Force has been acquiring new helicopters to bolster its operations. This new acquisition comes few months after the KAF requested the purchase of 12 MD 530F helicopters from the United States, at a proposed cost of $253 million including weapons, ammunition and support.
On June, 2017 the Images of a US-made AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter undergoing flight test in Kenya surfaced online, the AH-1 Cobra helicopter was acquired discretely. Other acquisition includes an undisclosed number of AW139 utility helicopters from Leonardo Helicopters ordered by the Kenyan government to boost its operational capabilities.