US approves $418m sale of Air Tractor aircraft to Kenya


The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential $418m sale of Air Tractor aircraft to Kenya.

Under the sale, Kenya has requested 12 Air Tractor AT- 802L and two AT-504 trainer aircraft.

The sale also covers a weapons package, technical support and programme management.

"The Kenyan Defense force is committed to modernising its air fleet and is capable of absorbing these aircraft."

The procurement is expected to improve the security of Kenya, who undertakes critical operations against al-Shabaab and is a troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The addition of Air Tractor aircraft is expected to maximise the Kenyan Defense Force's Close Air Support (CAS) ability because it is a short-field aircraft capable of using precision munitions and cost effective logistics and maintenance.

The new aircraft will be an addition to Kenya's ageing fleet of F-5 aircraft as it will be more fiscally efficient and able to be pre-positioned much closer to the conflict area than the F-5 fleet.

The Kenyan Defense force is committed to modernising its air fleet and is capable of absorbing these aircraft.

L-3 Communications' Platform Integration Division will serve as a prime contractor for the sale.

The Air Tractor AT-802 is an agricultural aircraft that may also be adapted into fire-fighting or armed versions, and AT-504 is a modern turboprop trainer provides natural and efficient conditions for communication and load sharing between the instructor and trainee.