Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta opened a new pilot training facility called the Aviation Centre of Excellence (ACE) at Laikipia Air Base on 7 April.
ACE is a state-of-the-art military training facility for Kenya Air Force pilots and technical personnel developed by KDF as part of the ongoing modernisation of Kenya’s defence and security capabilities.
“This academy shows that our focus is not on hardware alone,” Kenyatta said during the event. “Any modern and progressive military must emphasize quality training, which is a critical force multiplier for mission attainment.”
The new facility ACE will be used by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and other government agencies, as well as offering training to civilian companies such as Kenya Airways, and other East African countries.
ACE commandant Colonel Mohamud Farah described the new facility as a successor to the flying school the Kenya Air Force (KAF) set up in 1964.
“I challenge the Centre to tap into the East African Community and beyond by way of offering aviation training. This should not be limited to security sector actors but should be extended to civilian entities such as Kenya Airways and other airlines, who are also in critical need of highly qualified aviators,” the President said.
The Head of State said KDF had received several new air systems and announced plans to acquire ultra-modern maritime air surveillance capabilities aimed at augmenting the military’s power to handle emerging national security threats
“These efforts will ensure that our defence forces are well-equipped to fulfill their constitutional mandate of guaranteeing national security. Moreover, these enhanced capabilities will extend Kenya’s ability to support disaster mitigation efforts in Kenya and regionally,” he said.
Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi acknowledged President Kenyatta Government for the sustained investment in the military noting that the newly commissioned Aviation Centre of Excellence will help in lowering the cost of training military aviators.
Cabinet Secretaries Mutahi Kagwe (Health), Peter Munya (Agriculture) and Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi were among several senior Government officials and military officers at the commissioning ceremony.