MD Helicopters has delivered all six new MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters to Kenya, on schedule as per the September 2018 contract.
The six helicopters were seen partially disassembled in a hangar at the end of December along with what appears to be a Kenya Air Force Z-9WE, indicating the aircraft arrived at their destination before year-end.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) requested 12 of the helicopters valued at $253 million in May 2017 and on 27 September 2018 MD Helicopters was awarded a contract to deliver six MD530Fs to Kenya under a $1.4 billion award that also covers the supply of up to 150 armed MD530Fs/MD530Gs to US and partner nation military forces. The Kenyan contract includes initial logistics support (ILS) for the aircraft, aircraft systems and ground support equipment.
MD Helicopters on 13 September 2019 announced that it was awarded a contract for logistics support and training by the US Army Contracting Command in terms of the five-year Kenyan contract. It added that shipment of the six MD 530F Cayuse Warriors would be complete by the end of 2019.
Powered by the Rolls-Royce 250-C30 650shp turbine engine, these aircraft feature an all-digital glass cockpit with tinted windows, ballistically tolerant crashworthy fuel system, FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS), 62 mm ballistic armour protection, FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods.
Effective from 1 September 2019, the support contract covers transition training at the MD Helicopters headquarters in Mesa, Arizona, with foreign operations, including field service support, armament, and gunnery training, scheduled to occur at Laikipia Air Base in Kenya.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, in announcing the Kenyan contract in 2018, said the sale would advance Kenya’s efforts to conduct scout and attack rotary wing aircraft operations in support of their AMISOM mission in Somalia. “The MD 530F will also replace Kenya’s aging MD500 fleet, which is the current reconnaissance platform supporting Kenyan ground forces. This sale will significantly enhance the Kenyan Army’s modernization efforts and increase interoperability with the US Armed Forces and other partners in the region. Additionally, a strong national defence and dedicated military force will assist Kenya in its efforts to maintain stability in East Africa.”