Kenya Air Force
|Kenya Air Force
Jeshi la Anga la Kenya
Kenya Air Force emblem
1 June 1964
|Country||Republic of Kenya|
|Part of||Kenya Defence Forces|
|Motto||Tuko Imara Angani|
|Engagements||Operation Linda Nchi
(16 October 2011 – June 2012)
|Air Force commander||Major General Samuel Thuita|
|Helicopter||Mil Mi-171, Aerospatiale SA-330 Puma, Hughes MD 500|
|Trainer||Scottish Aviation Bulldog, Short Tucano, Grob G 120|
|Transport||de Havilland Canada DHC-5, Bombardier Dash 8, Fokker 70, Harbin Y-12|
The Kenya Air Force (KAF) is the national aerial warfare service branch of the Republic of Kenya.
The main airbase operating fighters is Laikipia Air Base in Nanyuki, while Moi Air Base in Eastleigh, Nairobi is the headquarters. Other bases include Forward Operating BAse (FOB) Mombasa (Moi International Airport), FOB Mandera, FOB Wajir & FOB Nyeri (mainly helicopters/small planes). The air force does not own attack helicopters: all of Kenya's fleet of armed helicopters are operated by the Army's 50th Air Cavalry Battalion.
The Kenya Air Force was formed on 1 June 1964, soon after independence, with the assistance of the United Kingdom.
Former aircraft in service included De Haviland Chipmunks and Beavers (since 1974), six Hawker Hunter (bought from RAF, in operation from 1974–79), six BAC Strikemaster fighters (in operation from 1971, and 12 BAE Systems Hawk delivered in 1980. All these types have now been withdrawn.
From 1979–1982 President Daniel arap Moi used Air Force F-5 fighter jets to escort his flights in and out of the country; later commentators have pointed out that there was no threat justifying the waste of fuel and the difficult and complex requirements of the escort mission.
After a failed coup by a group of Air Force officers on 1 August 1982, the Air Force was disbanded. Air Force activity was reconstituted and placed under tighter army control as the 82 Air Force. The Air Force regained its independent status in 1994.
On 10 April 2006 a KAF Harbin Y-12 crashed near Marsabit with 17 on board, of whom 14 died. It was carrying several local and national politicians; Bonaya Godana, a former minister, was among the casualties. The pilot in command was Major David Njoroge.
Currently a F-5 upgrade and procurement is underway (10 F-5E, 2 F-5F, and 3 F-5EM from Jordan.) Since 1978, it is the KAF's main air defence fighter. A total of 29 were delivered; 12 F-5E & 2 F-5F from USA, and 10 F-5E,3 F-5EM & 2 F-5F formerly in service with the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF). The ex RJAF aircraft were upgraded to F-5EM standard before being delivered to the Kenya Air Force. There was controversy over the purchase of the F-5s from Jordan, which were shipped to Kenya and assembled locally.
|Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma||France||transport helicopter||SA 330G||14||-|
|Mil Mi-17||Russia||transport helicopter||Mi 17-1E,Mi-8MTV,||3||First seen publicly on 22 August 2010. 3 delivered, 1 crashed 1 mi 8 MTVfor vip delivered in mid-2012|||
|Bombardier Dash 8||Canada||transport||DHC-8-103||3||Since 1990|||
|de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo||Canada||tactical transport||DHC-5D||only 3 are airworthy||Since 1977. 15 Delivered|||
|Grob G 120||Germany||basic trainer||G 120A||6|||
|Fokker 70||Netherlands||VIP transport||F70||1||-|||
|Harbin Y-12||People's Republic of China||utility transport||Y-12||11||Since 1997. One was converted for air patrol duty and was fitted with an MX-15 Special Camera Cessna grand caravan 208 ISR delivered for special ops|||
|Northrop F-5 Tiger II||United States||fighter/trainer||F-5E/EM/F-5F||17 F-5E, 4 F-5F|||
|Scottish Aviation Bulldog||United Kingdom||trainer||Bulldog 103/Bulldog 127||10||Since 1972|||
|Short Tucano||United Kingdom||trainer||Tucano Mk 51||12||Since 1990. 13 Delivered. Some for counter insurgency operations|
- BAC 167 Strikemaster fighters (in operation since 1971) (sold to Botswana 1993–94) -6 Delivered
- BAE Hawk 52 (in operation since 1980, 8 or more built, all grounded) -12 delivered
- De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk trainers (in operation 1964–74)
- De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver bush planes (in operation 1964–83)
- De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou transport (in operation 1966–87)
- Dornier Do 28D utility, (in operation since 1977, 4 or more built) -8 Delivered.
- HJ-8 anti-tank Missiles
- TY-90 air-to-air missiles
- 72x AIM-9J Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
- 72x AGM-65A Maverick air-to-surface missiles
Air defence equipment
The following officers have been in command of the Kenya Air Force:
- 12 December 1964 Group Captain I S Stockwell CBE DFC RAF
- 22 February 1967 Group Captain F Rothwell DFC TD RAF
- 9 August 1971 Group Captain David John Edwards CBE AFC RAF
- 17 April 1973 Colonel Dedan Gichuru
- 27 June 1980 Major General P M Kariuki
- 1982 Major General Mohamoud Mohamed (as commander of the 82 Air Force)
- 27 February 1986 Major General Dedan N Gichuru (as commander of the 82 Air Force)
- 10 May 1989 Major General D K Wachira
- 28 June 1994 Major General N L Leshan
- 1 December 2000 Major General S K Muttai
- 27 November 2003 Major General J W Karangi
- 10 August 2005 Major General Harold M Tangai
- 13 July 2011 Major General Joff Otieno
- 30 July 2014 Major General Samuel Ng’ang’a Thuita
- "Escorting Moi with fighter jets".
- The Nation, 
- Hoyle Flight International 9–15 December 2014, p. 43.
- "I S Stockwell".
- "D J Edwards".
- Hornsby, Charles (2012). Kenya: A History Since Independence. London/New York: I. B. Tauris. p. 231. ISBN 978-1-84885-886-2., indicates Edwards tenure 1971–73, and Gichuru 1973–80.
- Hoyle, Chris (9–15 December 2014). "World Air Forces Directory". Flight International. Vol. 186 (No. 5468): pp. 24–55.
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