US okays Sh43.5bn KDF arms deal to boost anti-Shabaab fight
( Daily Nation) –The US State Department has approved a deal to sell military aircraft worth approximately $418 million (Sh43.5 billion) to Kenya.
The required certification notifying the US Congress of the approved sale was delivered to Capitol Hill on January 19.
According to a statement by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the Kenyan government, under the approved sale, will receive up to 12 Air Tractor AT- 802L and two AT-504 trainer aircrafts.
Included in the sale is a weapons package, technical support as well as programme management.
The proposed sale, the statement said, will go a long way in contributing to the national security of the United States as Kenya is a strong regional partner at the forefront in the critical operations against Al-Shabaab.
It adds that Kenya has also been a troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia or Amisom.
The planes are meant to supplement the aging F-5 aircraft and are deemed to be more cost-effective and can be stationed much closer to the battle zones
than the F-5.
The prime contractor has been identified as L-3 Communications, Platform Integration Division, of Waco, Texas.
Though the State Department has approved the sale, it has not yet been concluded.
Earlier last week, newly sworn-in US President Donald Trump questioned US involvement in the war against Al-Shabaab in Somalia, saying it has lasted 10 years without tangible results.