Interior Ministry on Wednesday received the Mi-17V-5 helicopter from Russian Helicopters, part of the country’s State Corporation, Rostec.
The formal transfer of the helicopter took place at the Wilson Airport Nairobi in the presence of Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery after the rotorcraft made its maiden flight from JKIA to Wilson airport, the headquarters of the police Airwing.
Mr Nkaissery said the police Airwing had received a boost following the delivery of the troop carrier which has a capacity 36.
“The capacity and ability of the Police Air Wing has tremendously improved in the last four years under the National Police Service modernisation programme, of which the helicopter forms part,” Mr Nkaissery said.
He said the Air wing is a formidable airborne security agency with the ability to ensure that security officers respond to challenges in the furthest part of the country in a very short time.
“The Police Airwing now has three Mi17 heavy lift. Today’s launched helicopter is a long-range helicopter with the capacity for 36 fully-equipped security officers and an airborne endurance of up to about four hours depending on various factors,” he said as he received the carrier.
The multirole helicopter is manufactured at Kazan Helicopters Plant in Kazan Republic of Russia.
Parts of the aircraft were delivered to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport earlier in March, where the assembly took place.
Mr Nkaissery said another similar aircraft would be delivered into the country next month giving the Police Air Wing a strength of four functional helicopters.
Russian Helicopters Deputy CEO for marketing and business development Alexander Shcherbinin, said that the company had also trained local specialists, as specified in the contract.
“Currently, the total fleet of Russian-made helicopters in the African countries exceeds 700 and it requires a gradual upgrade. We hope for further fruitful cooperation,” Mr Shcherbinin said.
The National Police Air Wing has trained pilots – five of whom are females, for the helicopters.
Several other pilots are under training, according to ministry of interior and coordination of national government spokesman, Mwenda Njoka.