Kenya’s President and Commander-in-Chief Uhuru Kenyatta has commissioned the Kenya Air Force’s new Aviation Centre of Excellence (ACE), which will be used by the Kenya Defence Forces, government agencies and civilian companies as well as other East African nations.
The ceremony took place at Laikipia Air Base in Nanyuki on 7 April. Recently acquired Grop G120TP turboprop trainers were on display. The Kenya Air Force flies nine new G120TPs in addition to G120A-K piston engine trainers. The Kenya Air Force in 2013 received six G120A-K models, becoming the first African air force to operate the type. One subsequently crashed on 28 March 2018, but the pilots survived.
“This academy shows that our focus is not on hardware alone. Any modern and progressive military must lay emphasis on quality training, which is a critical force multiplier for mission attainment,” Kenyatta said.
He said the acquisition of modern training aircraft and the establishment of the Aviation Centre of Excellence will assist KDF and other government agencies in creating a pool of skilled professionals to undertake varied aviation operations.
“I challenge the Centre to tap into the East African Community and beyond by way of offering aviation training. This should not be limited to security sector actors but should be extended to civilian entities such as Kenya Airways and other airlines, who are also in critical need of highly qualified aviators,” the President said.
Kenyatta said the military had received several new ‘air systems’ and announced plans to acquire ultra-modern maritime air surveillance capabilities aimed at augmenting the military’s power to handle emerging national security threats.
“These efforts will ensure that our defence forces are well-equipped to fulfil their constitutional mandate of guaranteeing national security. Moreover, these enhanced capabilities will extend Kenya’s ability to support disaster mitigation efforts in Kenya and regionally,” he said.