US-made KDF chopper crashes, kills two soldiers in Masinga

KDF chopper
A Kenyan military chopper that crashed in Masinga, Kitui killing two soldiers. [Photo Standard]

A US-assembled light attack helicopter gunship MD530F crashed in Masinga, Kitui County killing two Kenyan soldiers on the spot.

The helicopter crashed at 10 am, Monday. The cause of the accident has not been identified yet.

The Ministry of Defence in a statement Monday said the chopper was for training purposes.

“This was a training flight. Onboard were two pilots who have been evacuated from the crash site,” part of the statement read.

The crashed helicopter was among six light attack helicopters procured by the Kenyan government through Kenya Army Aviation from the US in January this year. The deal was reached upon through the US Foreign Military Sales programme.

The government had initially planned to buy 12 light attack and reconnaissance helicopters to boos KDF’s firepower against Al-Shabaab militia.

The six gunship MD530F helicopters were part of the Ksh25.5 billion arms deal which was Okayed by the US Congress in May 2017.

Former Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe together with US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter received the helicopters at the Joint Helicopter Command in Embakasi, Nairobi.

In the deal, Kenya was to get logistical support, technical assistance, spare parts and field service support from the US.

The 12 warfare helicopters including 12 MD 230F were to also have 24 machine gun pods 24 HMP400 machine gun pod systems and 24 M260 rocket pods.