Kenya Army Upgrading its StrengthsDecember 19 | Posted by David Goldman | Intelligence News, Military Intelligence
Kenya Defense Forces are upgrading their military capabilities to achieve required capacity in responding to new threats. Though the upgrades, that include new acquisitions, have been ongoing, the need to achieve desired capacity is dire. Huge budgetary allocations set aside to facilitate achievement of the core objective in principal have been put into use. This is an effort to modernize the Kenya army, a defense official explained.
Proposals to upgrade the air force we made in 2009. The objective was to modernize the air force with modern air defenses including new radar systems, drone support systems, larger airbases, and a new fleet of modern jet fighters. Based on geopolitics, the army needed well-armed infantry besides adequately equipped. Better main battle tanks, missile launchers, and military transport capacity were also required to modernize the army.
Kenya Air force to Acquire Modern Fighter Aircrafts in 2012
The Kenya air force has been desperately shopping for superior, affordable, and easily serviceable fighter jets particularly American F-15 fighter jet. A visit by Kenya’s top military brass to US Air-force facilities agitated for the need to u air up air defenses. F-15 are still very good aircraft and will be in the US active service at least until 2025 as of now. The number Kenya is planning to acquire is about 20 with a second hand F-15 being as good as a brand new Sukhoi.
To have these fighters the 17th Air Force command visited the Laikipia Airbase in August 2009 to discuss how Kenya air force can meet long-term challenges. Meetings on the agenda included numerous Ministry of Defense and Air Force officials, including Kenyan Chief of General Staff ‘then General Jeremiah Kianga’, Kenyan Air Force Chief of Staff Major General Harold Tangai, and Laikipia Air Base Commander Colonel Francis Agolla.
The meetings were facilitated by the Kenya-U.S. Liaison Office and included a thorough discussion of topics related to improving the capabilities and equipment of the Kenyan Air Force, according to Major Sergio Porres, KUSLO action officer. The 17th Air Force command Commander General William E. “Kip” Ward’s and his team advised on the need to modernize the air force capabilities
Kenya’s Air force allocated over 2billion to complete the installation of sophisticated equipment at the Laikipia Airbase to enable night operations. Mirsa & Associates won a contract to handle the modernization of the airbase. According to Mirsa & Associates, the works on the runway lights, the runway itself and the power supply to the whole airbase should be complete by February 8, 2012.
The upgrade will see the successful installation of Instrument Landing System (ILS), which will allow aircrafts land at the airport at night. The ILS also incorporates homing beacons so that pilots, from anywhere in the world can locate the airport. Gibbs Africa Ltd is the firm implementing the modernization. This would facilitate the use of a new fleet of F-15 jet fighters.
Kenya Air-Force Acquires Modern Attack Helicopters from China
Kenya Air force has already acquired Z-9WE, an indigenous anti-armor attack helicopter derived whose main armament are four KD-8 wire-guided ATGMs (range 600-3,000m, armor penetration >800mm) from China Aviation Industry Corporation-owned Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co. Ltd.
Attack helicopters are quite vital when undertaking military operations in hostile environment such as Somalia.
Kenya air force acquired a number of the latest armed version of the Z-9WE attack helicopters.
This helicopter is armed with twin 23mm cannon, torpedoes, anti-tank missiles, and air-to-air missiles.
The z-9WA model has two stub wings that can carry weapons (8 missiles or 2 12.7mm machine-gun pods, or 57mm or 90mm unguided rocket pods).
Armed Personnel Carriers
The China North Industries Corporation, official English name Norinco has delivered WMZ-551 6X6 wheeled armored vehicles to Kenya in the past three years. WMZ 551 6X6 Wheeled Armored Vehicle has a fully automatic transmission, air-cooled engine; hydraulically assisted steering on the front four wheels, independently suspended wheels, axle double reduction and differential locking, central tyre inflation system.
The vehicle is also equipped with the air conditioning system and a winch. It is fully amphibious due to the two shrouded propellers.
OTT Technologies (Pty) Ltd, a South African company located outside Pretoria supplied Kenya defense forces with OTT M-26 APC (mine resistant) APC’s.
These vehicles were added to the Kenya army inventory in phases. Bought were 150 units of the OTT M-26 MRAP/APCs from a South African firm. The last deliveries were on June 2011.
Kenya army has new special forces units besides using modern assault rifles.