Kenya’s military has mastered the use of drones to direct artillery strikes against targets before aerial engagement by armed helicopters.
Kenya ordered five ScanEagle UAV systems under a $9.8 million FMS announced in September 2015. And in 2012, ordered eight Aerovironment RQ-11 Raven from the United States.
The ScanEagle drones are used to detect and monitor the Al-Shabaab movement and support the Kenyan and Somali force’s military operations.
“ScanEagle was ordered by the Kenyan government at a cost of $9.86 million (KSh1 billion),” said SIPRI military expenditure programme director Samuel Perlo-Freeman.
The drone is manufactured by Isintu a subsidiary of Boeing and has been used by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kenya is partnering with Turkey (TAI) to develop and field a new surveillance drone. The terms of the agreement according to local sources a complete handover of the technologies required to build the drone. However, as of today, there are few details regarding the endeavour.
In early 2020 declassified documents issued in 2018 revealed the US had planned 12 construction projects in Djibouti, Kenya and Niger.
The US has asked the Kenyan government for permission to relocate armed drones there in support of operations against Al Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, but it remains unclear if the Kenyan government is giving permission to do so.
AFRICOM also began pushing for authorisation to carry out drone strikes in eastern Kenya against al-Shabaab in 2020, without consulting Congress.
This would mean that AFRICOM could be allowed to carry out drone strikes under certain circumstances. The draft guidelines on conducting drone strikes in Kenya authorise drone strikes in self-defence and drone strikes that anticipate a suspected threat. Furthermore, the Kenyan government would have to give its consent for every drone attack.
List of Kenyan military drones (UAV)
- AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven
- Kenya-Turkish (TAI) ANKA-A MALE UAV
- Insitu ScanEagle
- Class II VTOL drone
- Unmanned Aeronautics GhostRay