The Kenya Air Force is receiving its second C-145A Skytruck twin engine transport aircraft from the United States, out of three destined for the East African country.
The Kenya Air Force commissioned its first C-145A on 20 April. The second aircraft C-145A 10-0321 (construction number AJE003-21) was seen arriving in Anterwerp, Belgium, on 26 June on its delivery flight. After a night stop, it departed for Split, Croatia, on 27 June.
The first Skytruck, serial 08-0310 (c/n AJE003-10) was also delivered via Antwerp, Scramble magazine reports. It arrived on 27 January and departed the next day to Croatia.
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 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. US Air Force crews arrived in Kenya in February to train Kenyan pilots and ground crews in the operation of the aircraft.
At the end of May, after three months of training, US Air Force Combat Aviation Advisors assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command CA Team OAD 7 EK11, and their Kenya Air Force partners, completed a successful culmination exercise showcasing the wide range of capabilities the Skytruck will add to the KAF fleet. The C-145 executed an airdrop with casualty evacuation supplies; Kenyan rapid response unit members retrieved the package, and used it to treat and transport the casualty onto the aircraft for a simulated medical evacuation.
In Kenyan service, the C-145s will replace Y-12 aircraft, the Kenyan Ministry of Defence said. Kenya acquired 12 Y-12s, but several have been lost in fatal crashes, including a crash in January 2021 that killed four Kenya Air Force members.
The aircraft will aid in rapid response to civilian emergencies, such as flooding, and military operations, such as confronting al-Shabaab along the border with Somalia.
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.