The Kenya Air Force appears to have taken delivery of its first C-145 Skytruck twin transport aircraft from the United States.
A C-145 was spotted earlier this month 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.
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.
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.
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.
New build M28s have been offered to various African countries, with South African aviation company Safomar the sales representative for Sikorsky Aircraft (which owns PZL Mielec) in six African countries.