MilitaryC-145 Skytruck upgrades Kenyan tactical transport capacity

C-145 Skytruck upgrades Kenyan tactical transport capacity

The Kenya Air Force (KAF) now has the benefit of a capable tactical transport asset in the form of the C-145 Skytruck.

The C-145 Skytrucks are now providing access to capabilities Kenya may not have had such as quick troops insertion in tactical scenarios, COVID-19 support, medical evacuation, liaison, and more robust training.

Kenya acquired three surpluses C-145 Skytrucks from the United States earlier this year, through Excess Defence Article(EDA) after the signing of the Kenya United States Liason Office (KUSLO) agreement by the two Governments on 4 April 2017.

The C-145 Skytrucks will ultimately help replace the accident-prone Y-12 fleet in service.

Kenya Air Force (KAF) Commander Major General Francis Ogolla noted in April during the commissioning of the C-145 Skytruck at Moi Air Base (MAB), Eastleigh that “this aircraft will not be in the service for display but to enhance the capability of our air support to our sister Services.”

The C-145 Skytruck is the US Air Force designation for the PZL Mielec M28 tactical transport aircraft. As a multi-mission aircraft, it can undertake infiltration, exfiltration, resupply, and other missions as well as air force training.

In May, U.S., and Kenyan Air Forces honed their C-145 capabilities, enabling a fully-trained flying crew (pilots, loadmasters, riggers, and mechanics) to improve their proficiency in operating and maintaining the C-145.

U.S. Air Force combat aviation advisors assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command and Kenyan Air Force aircrews and Rapid Response Units carried out personnel recovery training on Moi Air Base, Kenya.

The U.S. Air Force also provided training in C-145 Skytruck flight and maintenance operations, as well as combat and survival training.

Since then, the KAF has routinely carried out airdrop, medical evacuation, and short take-off and landing missions on its own with the C-145.

The aircraft that the C-145 will be replacing is the Harbin Y-12;  a high wing twin-engine turboprop utility aircraft built by Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, China.

In Kenyan service, the Y-12 have suffered several fatal non-combat-related crashes prompting their withdrawal from service.

Ekene Lionel
Ekene Lionel is an author for The Aviator Africa, covering military aviation. He has worked as a journalist and defense tech writer for 5 years, much of that time focusing on military and emerging technologies.

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