The Kenya Air Force (KAF) has commissioned its recently acquired C-145 Skytruck transport aircraft into service, which will ultimately help replace the accident-prone Y-12 fleet. Three surplus aircraft were received from the United States.
The Kenyan Ministry of Defence said the event on 20 April was presided over by the Commander Kenya Air Force (KAF) Major General Francis Ogolla at Moi Air Base (MAB).
Speaking during the reception ceremony, Ogolla expressed gratitude to the US government for the acquisition that will go a long way in enhancing the mission readiness of the Kenya Air Force.
“It is a great day today as we introduce the C-145 Skytruck aircraft. This aircraft will not be in the Service for display but to enhance the capability of our air support to our sister Services,” said Ogolla.
The US Defence Air Attachee to Kenya Major Matthew Yan while making his remarks thanked the Kenyan Government for the mutual cooperation and assured of continued support from the US Government.
In August 2016 the United States allocated three surplus C-145As to Kenya, after it had requested six under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme. They are worth $9 million (versus the $30 million spent on their acquisition). The EDA database lists three aircraft delivered to Kenya. The United States also approved the transfer of two C-145As to Costa Rica, two C-145As to Estonia and two to Nepal.
A C-145 was spotted in early February over Kenya and comes after C-145A 08-0310 (construction number AJE003-10) was seen at Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada), on 24 January apparently on its way to Kenya. Scramble magazine reported the aircraft had arrived in Belgium on 27 January and departed for Croatia on the 28th.
From September 2019, Kenya Air Force pilots and loadmasters underwent training on the C-145 at Hulburt Field, Florida. They were trained by airmen from the US Air Force’s 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron and 492d Special Operations Wing.
In Kenyan service, the C-145s will replace Y-12 aircraft, the Kenyan Ministry of Defence said. Kenya acquired 12 Y-12s, but several have been lost in fatal crashes.
The C-145 is the US Air Force designation for the PZL Mielec M28 – USAF Special Operations Command (AFSOC) acquired 18 C-145A Skytruck/Combat Coyotes, which entered service from 2009, being acquired through Sierra Nevada Corporation, which prepares the aircraft for their specific roles prior to delivery. The Skytrucks are flown in locations across the globe performing infiltration, exfiltration, resupply and other missions as well as foreign air force training.
In July 2015 AFSOC announced it was retiring two thirds of its C-145A fleet, with 11 aircraft subsequently being disposed of.
The M28 is built in several guises, including for passenger, VIP, cargo, paratroop, medical, SAR, and maritime patrol missions. The M28 has good short takeoff and landing performance and can land on unprepared airstrips less than 345 metres long thanks to its high lift wing, thrust reversing propellers and low pressure tyres. It is powered by two 1 100 hp Pratt &Whitney Canada PT6-65B turboprops which are protected by inlet particle separators. The 7 500 kg M28 can carry 2 300 kg over 450 km. It can cruise at speeds of up to 356 km/h.