Air Platforms

US congressman calls for Air Tractor sale to Kenya to be investigated

16 February 2017
The Air Tractor AT-802U, now designated AT-802L with the arrival of L3 Technologies as the systems integrator, is the subject of a proposed sale to Kenya that a US congressman wants to investigate. Source: Air Tractor

The recently approved sale of 12 Air Tractor-L3 Technologies AT-802L intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and light attack turboprops to Kenya is in doubt after it emerged that a US congressman is calling for an investigating into potential irregularities with the USD418 million deal.

According to a source familiar with the requirement who asked to not be identified, Kenya requested the AT-802L from Air Tractor and its systems-integration partner (and prime) L3 Technologies on the basis of it being an already in service and combat-proven platform, confusing it with the IOMAX-developed AT-802 and the follow-on Archangel Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA) that have been sold to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and regional allies.

"The Kenyan Air Force selected the AT-802L aircraft due to its supposed 'combat readiness and effectiveness throughout the region', and the Department of State made its justification for the award based on this. As of yesterday, Kenya was completely unaware that L3 was not the company who built the 48 [IOMAX] aircraft [delivered to the UAE]," the source told Jane's on 14 February.

In light of this, Congressman Ted Budd, who represents the North Carolina-based IOMAX, is introducing a motion to stop the sale pending a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit and oversight investigation into the deal, which also includes two Air Tractor AT-504 trainer turboprops.

A background document for the motion seen by Jane's states : "There are currently 48 [IOMAX] aircraft deployed in the Middle East, specifically in the UAE, Jordan, and Egypt. They are, at this present time, the only contractor with a manned and weaponised BPA airframe approved for export from the United States. One of their key business advantages is the fact that they are able to provide an integrated, weaponised platform suitable for equipping and firing laser-guided munitions from a purpose-built airframe.

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