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Kenya opens new pilot training centre

Kenya's Grob G 120TP trainers at the new Aviation Centre of Excellence. (State House Kenya)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned a new Aviation Centre of Excellence (ACE) at Laikipia Air Base on 7 April.

“This academy shows that our focus is not on hardware alone,” Kenyatta said during the event. “Any modern and progressive military must lay emphasis on quality training, which is a critical force multiplier for mission attainment.”

He added that the ACE will be used by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and other government agencies, as well as offering training to civilian companies such as Kenya Airways, and other East African countries.

ACE commandant Colonel Mohamud Farah described the new facility as a successor to the flying school the Kenya Air Force (KAF) set up in 1964.

“The establishment of ACE was informed by several factors: the major challenge we had was to meet our demands in terms of pilot numbers,” Farah said. “This was brought about by the expansion within the Kenya Defence Forces, as well as the additional requirement to train pilots for other government agencies such as the National Air Support Department […]. We were also looking at ways of reducing outsourcing of international courses for pilots as well as a vision to go regional.”

Kenyatta was shown the new Grob G 120TP trainer aircraft that have been acquired for the ACE, as well as a simulator. The German company says it has delivered nine G 120TPs to Kenya.

The KDF said in a statement that Grob helped set up the ACE.

At least one of the KAF's older Grob G 120A and Embraer Super Tucano trainers were also present at the ACE during the inauguration.

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