Kenyan Air Force lose Mi-171E helicopter, 17 dead

A Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Mil Mi-171E training helicopter (5Y-SDL) crash landed at Buna Waji County today, leaving the aircraft badly damaged.

The Mi-171E, a variant of the Russian-made Mil Mi-17 helicopter crashed with the passengers on board injured, Kenyan Air Force confirmed.

The Kenyan Air Force is known to operate two Mil Mi-17 helicopter at the FOB Nyeri, 151 kilometers from Nairobi, which is the home of 53 Tactical Helicopter Squadron that flies the mi-171E alongside six Huey UH-1H helicopters and nine AS550C3 helicopters for security operations, combat search and rescue, casualty and medical evacuation.

The Department of Defence said in a statement at the time that the Kenya Air Force Huey helicopter crashed while on night patrol in the coastal town that had witnessed an upsurge in terrorist attacks in recent weeks.

“The crew and other military personnel onboard were part of an air surveillance squadron intensifying day and night patrols and surveillance for the on-going Operation Amani Boni,” KDF said.

Several Kenyan helicopters have been lost since the later part of the decade; in 2018, UH-1H-II serial KAF-1503, crashed and was written off.

Also, in 16 July 2020, a Hughes MD50E scout and utility helicopter of the Kenyan Army on 13 July crashed at Kithyoko, Ma halos County. The crash, killed both aircraft pilot, with the cause yet to be ascertained.

The Kenyan Defense Force operates around three dozen MD500s received 40 MD500s between 1980 and 1985, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, along with 2,100 TOW anti-tank missiles.

These are complemented by six newly acquired MD530Fs delivered from the United States in December 2019.

In 2018, Nairobi placed an order for six of the next generation MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopter from MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI).

This would add to Kenya’s already growing fleet of light attack and scout helicopter which includes eight AS350 FENNEC helicopter, MD 500 helicopters and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter.

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