Kenyan AH-1s displayed


The Kenyan Air Force (KAF) has for the first time displayed some of its newly acquired AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.

Two were seen flying during Kenya’s 54th independence day celebrations on 12 December. The flypast formation over Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium also included Bulldog, Tucano, Y-12, Fokker 70, Dash-8, F-5, Puma, Mi-171E and Huey aircraft.

Kenya is receiving second hand AH-1F Cobras from Jordan, according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly. It is not clear how many are being received but, according to Jane’s, satellite imagery has shown three AH-1s at Laikipia Air Base.

News of the Kenyan deal first emerged in May when photos emerged on social media of a partially disassembled AH-1 Cobra fuselage in Kenya Air Force Markings and a desert camouflage scheme matching that used by the Kenyan military. The aircraft in the photos lacked its stub wings, main and tail rotors, indicating it was partially disassembled for transport and had just been delivered.

Subsequently, video footage emerged in June of an AH-1 flying at Laikipia Air Base in central Kenya.

Jordan has assisted Kenya in the past, for instance selling 15 second hand F-5 fighters to the country in mid-2007 and in September last year taking part in a joint exercise in Kenya, during which both countries pledged to strengthen their defence relations.

Jordan in mid-2015 received 16 AH-1s from Israel, but has operated Cobras since the 1980s, when it received an initial 24 AH-1Fs from the United States, followed by another nine (16 were transferred to Pakistan in 2010).

Bell Helicopters told IHS Janes that it would provide support for Kenya’s new aircraft when required.