Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s office has received a redesigned, rebranded Augusta Westland police helicopter.
The chopper will be utilized for the DP’s official and unofficial movements across the nation. It was previously employed for surveillance. It was initially painted in the colors of the national police and registered 5Y-DIG. However, it is now white and is covered in the Kenyan flag.
It is one of the four Bell Augusta helicopters and three Augusta Westland helicopters that were purchased from Italy in 2017 for a total of Sh4.8 billion. Only one is in use; the others have been grounded since December 2017.
The Augusta helicopter was equipped with a camera that could zoom in on people in a crowd within a five-kilometer radius and scan car number plates.
Due to a number of problems, including a lack of funding for operations, repair, and maintenance, the national Police Air Wing is grounded.
Felix Koskei, the chief of staff and head of the public service at the State House, wrote to the inspector general of police in October asking for the transfer of one of the two Augusta AW139 choppers that are currently in service to the Kenya Airforce for use by the DP.
The National Air Support Department (NASD) was established by the former president Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2020 to promote efficiency in the management of national aviation resources. By combining the aviation assets of the National Police Air Wing, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco), and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), among others, the NASD produced a fleet of 36 aircraft, manned by 273 men. The majority of the choppers, however, are unable to operate due to a lack of funding for repairs.
The current reconfiguration was carried out by Egyptian specialists. To make it appropriate for regular passenger use, the registration number and security cameras had to be removed.
In the cabin of the chopper, there was a surveillance camera with a screen monitor.
In order to receive live broadcasts while the helicopter was in the air, it was connected to two ground stations with locations in Nairobi and Mombasa.
In order to provide commanders a true sense of the situation on the ground, it also contained two vehicle-mounted stations that could be transported to any region of the country that had been affected by a war.