The US Department of State has approved a $253 million sale of 12 MD 530F helicopters along with associated weapons and ammunition to Kenya to support the East-African country's operations against al-Shabaab terror group.
The sale would improve Kenya’s security as the country is undertaking "critical operations" against al-Shabaab terror group, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release on Tuesday.
"The proposed sale of the MD 530F helicopters, weapons, ammunition, support items and technical support will advance Kenya’s efforts to conduct scout and attack rotary wing aircraft operations in support of their AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] mission," the release stated.
Kenyan forces are part of the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia, which was launched in 2007 and has continued through the latest Somalian war starting from 2009. Kenya has been participating in the mission since 2011.
The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is an armed variant of the OH-6 Cayuse light observation helicopter built by MD Helicopters.
The helicopter can be deployed in tactical, reconnaissance and transport operations, as well as carry out airborne law enforcement, executive and personnel transport, air medical services, search-and-rescue (SAR), firefighting and other public safety missions.
The MD 500E, 530F and 520N light helicopters are manufactured by MD Helicopters Inc of Mesa, Arizona, a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based MD Helicopters, part of the RDM Group.