East Africa states buy modern equipment for armies

Military vehicles spotted at the port of Mombasa on April 11, 2019. The EastAfrican could not immediately establish for which country they were destined. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NMG

East African countries have, in the past three years, been on a military hardware-shopping spree, upgrading their aircraft, vehicles, arms and other equipment.

A new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) for 2018 shows that in the region, Kenya topped the purchases, with six aircraft orders. Nairobi expects the planes this year.

Kenya also received eight second-hand Airbus AS-550C3 light helicopters as aid from the US last year.

The six orders include three C-27J Spartan transport aircraft from Italian firm Leonardo, which will cost $200 million.

These are meant to replace the ageing fleet of De Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalos the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) has.

The other three are M28 Skytruck light transport and passenger planes from Poland, which Kenya ordered in 2016.

The KDF also received 12 Bastion Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) from the United States as a donation to help secure its borders and promote peacekeeping in Somalia, where its troops have been serving under the African peacekeeping mission, Amisom.

For the APCs, Kenya bought 12 MD5 diesel engines from France, Sipri says.

In Uganda, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) will this year receive 45 South African-manufactured Mamba APCs for assembly at the Armoured Vehicle Manufacturing and Assembly Facility in Jinja, which President Yoweri Museveni opened last August.

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