Kenya has received its first Huey II helicopters from the United States, with six aircraft being delivered.
The helicopters recently left Bell Helicopter’s facility in Ozark, Alabama, after upgrade work, and were subsequently seen being transported by road through Alabama.
“We can confirm that we delivered six Huey IIs to the US government last Thursday, 17 November,” Bell Helicopter told IHS Jane’s. “The six Huey IIs were immediately transferred by the US government to the Kenya Air Force.”
In September this year the US Department of Defence announced that it had awarded Bell Helicopter a foreign military sales contract worth $52.1 million for the supply of five Huey II helicopters and spares for Kenya. It is not clear why the contract mentions five helicopters yet six were delivered – the sixth may be a spare airframe.
The Kenyan helicopters, which are destined to be operated by the Kenya Air Force, are remanufactured aircraft that combine commercial Bell 212 dynamic components with the 1 800 shp Honeywell T53-L-703 engine (replacing the original Lycoming), leading to an increase in hover performance in hot conditions and increasing the maximum gross weight to 4 763 kg. Along with the Bell Huey II kit installation, Bell Helicopter refurbishes the Bell UH-1H basic airframe to OEM standards (zero timing the airframe), provides a complete rewire, updates the avionics (including an optional glass cockpit) and offers a comprehensive selection of mission specific kits and customization.
Other features include rollover bulkheads, rupture-resistant fuel cells, wire strike protection and jettisonable crew doors. The Huey II has a useful load of 2 200 kg, endurance of 2.6 hours and max cruise speed of 196 km/h at maximum gross weight.
In addition to Kenya, Bell was in September awarded a $34.5 million contract for five helicopters for Uganda. Work will have been completed on the Ugandan and Kenyan contracts by 29 December 2017. According to a Bell Helicopter executive, an unnamed African country will also receive five Huey IIs this year.
* This story has been updated to reflect Bell’s confirmation of delivery.