Kenya acquires Fennec helicopters


The Kenya Defence Force has apparently taken delivery of eight Fennec light helicopters from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will be used in its efforts against al Shabaab militants.

Photos of at least four single-engine AS550 Fennecs (H125s) without their main rotor blades were published by The Kenyan Daily Post on 4 September. The Kenyan Air Force roundel can be seen on one of the helicopters. The publication said the aircraft were acquired from the UAE and their grey paint scheme matches those of UAE aircraft.

The UAE’s Army Aviation Brigade and the Air Force’s Special Operations Command operate a number of AS550C3 Fennec helicopters but little is known about them.

If confirmed, the Fennecs appear to be the latest in a series of procurements. In June this year it emerged that Kenya had ordered three Leonardo C-27J Spartan transport aircraft from Italy in 2017, with deliveries in 2019, most likely replacing its de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalos.

Kenya also ordered a number of AW139 helicopters in a separate deal and in December last year displayed two second hand AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters acquired from Jordan. It is not clear how many were acquired – at least three Cobras have been spotted.