Kenya has received used Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters from Jordan. The helicopters were donated by Jordan and additional details of the transaction were not revealed.
Images of a helicopter with Kenyan Air Force (KAF) markings and desert camouflage painting were released on social media in May. The aircraft in the photos lacked its stub wings, main and tail rotors, indicating it was partially disassembled for transport and may have just been delivered. Video footage released in June showed an AH-1 helicopter flying at KAF’s Laikipia Air Base.
The deal is likely to be part of ongoing efforts to modernize their equipment and increase counter insurgency operations (COIN) against Al-Shabaab militant in Somalia.
Kenya was earlier looking to acquire Air Tractor/L-3 AT-802L ISR and light attack aircraft but the sale was put on hold by U.S. Congress. Kenya has also requested the purchase of 12 MD 530F helicopters from the United States, in May, at a proposed cost of $253 million including weapons, ammunition and support. The United States has earlier sold 8 UH-1H Huey utility helicopters to Kenya, of which 6 have already been delivered.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) is currently operating 47 AH-1E/F Cobra helicopters out of which 16 were transferred from Israel Air Force retired fleet.
Bell AH-1 Cobra is a two-blade, single-engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It was developed using the engine, transmission and rotor system of the legacy Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter. AH-1 is also referred to as the HueyCobra or Snake and is a member of the prolific Huey family of helicopters.
The AH-1 was the backbone of the United States Army’s attack helicopter fleet before being replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The AH-1 twin engine version, SuperCobra, remain in service with United States Marine Corps (USMC) as the service’s primary attack helicopter.
Upgraded versions of AH-1 are in service with armed forces of several other nations.