Kenya seeking Skytruck aircraft from US


Kenya has requested C-145A Skytruck transport aircraft from the United States under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme, with the US allocating three to the East African country.

This is according to the EDA database, which notes that six C-145As were requested for Kenya, but only three were allocated on 15 August. They are currently worth $9 million (versus the $30 million spent on their acquisition).

Also in August, the EDA programme authorised the delivery of two C-145As to Costa Rica, two C-145As to Estonia and two to Nepal.

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 1 000 feet (345 metres) long thanks to its high lift wing, thrust reversing propellers and low pressure tyres. It is powered by two 1 100 hp (820 kW) Pratt &Whitney Canada PT6-65B turboprops which are protected by inlet particle separators.

The 16 500 lb (7 500 kg) M28 can carry 5 000 lb (2 300 kg) over 225 nm (450 km). It can cruise at speeds of up to 192 knots (356 km/h) and stalls at 53 knots with engines idling and flaps extended. Service ceiling is up to 25 000 feet with crew oxygen.

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. The type has also been offered to the South African Air Force for the maritime mission.