State Dept. approves $418 million aircraft sale to Kenya

By Richard Tomkins

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Kenya is on track to procure Air Tractor aircraft and the weapons for them through a possible U.S. Foreign Military Sales deal.

The U.S. Defense Cooperation Agency, which manages the FMS program, said in its notification to Congress that the U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale worth $418 million.


"This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a strong regional partner who is a regional security leader undertaking critical operations against al-Shabaab and troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia," it said.

Al-Shabab is an al-Qaida-linked militant group operating in Somalia, which borders Kenya.

The proposed sales package includes 12 Air Tractor AT-802L aircraft and two AT-504 trainer aircraft, weapons, technical support and program management.

The prime contractor for the FMS would be L-3 Communications, Platform Integration Division.

At least five contractor representatives would need to be assigned to Kenya.

The AT-802 is derived from a crop-sprayer. It is heavily armored, armed, and has a 10-hour endurance.

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