The United States Government has donated 12 Bastion APCs to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) on 19 November to help secure its borders and promote peace in the region, the US Embassy in Kenya announced.
The vehicles were handed over to Deputy Kenya Army Commander Major General Thomas Chepkuto on 19 November at Kahawa Barracks by US Defense Attaché and Senior Defense Official Colonel Kevin Balisky.
The vehicles are part of a batch of 62 procured for several African countries under an order announced by the US Department of Defense in 2015.
The US embassy said they will be used to improve border surveillance capabilities and will provide improved protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The APCs will support KDF’s efforts in the fight against extremists, including the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), along the border region. Defeating the threat of IEDs is a critical component of denying violent extremists freedom of movement, the US Embassy in Nairobi said.
“These vehicles represent the unwavering U.S. commitment to Kenya and our shared national security interests. As the KDF continues to conduct daily operations against violent extremism, these vehicles will enhance the mobility and force protection of their troops in harm’s way. We are proud to be friends and partners with the KDF as they secure and develop peace in the border region,” said Balisky.
The United States is currently providing a three-week “train-the-trainer” course for Kenya Army operators and maintainers of the Bastion APCs.
The Bastions were manufactured in France by ACMAT, now part of Arquus, and handed over to Mack Defense for delivery to the US government.
The United States has donated Bastion vehicles to African nations before, and in September 2015 the US Department of Defence ordered Acmat Bastion vehicles for Somalia (32), Uganda (17), Amisom (13), Tunisia (4), Cameroon (15) and Ethiopia (12).
The Bastion Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
The Bastion range of tactical armoured vehicles features STANAG 4569 protection and can carry ten to 12 people. They are based on the VLRA TDN-TDE platform for easy maintenance and logistics. The Bastion APC is configured for troop transport while the Bastion Patsas is a semi-open-top design developed with French Special Forces for reconnaissance and assault.
The Bastion APC is based on the 4×4 rigid mechanical-welded chassis of all-terrain multi-role tactical vehicle and has a conventional layout with engine at the front, which ensures full length floor extending through rear for crew and troops.
Its cabin can be equipped with air conditioning system, radio devices, and observation and record system and the vehicles are fitted with beacon light, loudspeaker, siren amplifier, public address system and search light.
The vehicle is also provided with smoke grenade launchers and up to nine gun ports for firing rifles.