Being the only Special Force elite unit in Kenya Air Force, Rapid Deployment Squadron (RDS) was formed to help in the formulation of new strategies to counter new security challenges.
Primarily, RDU’s is Combat Search & Rescue and disaster response.
Going by their name, RDS provide first response to reinforce security personnel in strategic locations when need arises or first respondents in disaster situation when called upon.
More so the need to have the Squadron created was necessitated when Search & Rescue plans for Maritime Patrols were being worked out during the 2005 Anti-Piracy Operations in the Indian Ocean.
KDF in their annual publication revealed that KAF was conducting deep sea surveillance and Search & Rescue plans that required rapid response capability.
Then military operations commenced in Somalia in 2011, this is where the formation of the unit became inevitable, as part of the force that would complement Combat Search & Rescue efforts for the operation. KDF said in their Website.
The initial training both locally and overseas began in 2006 as part of capacity building initiative towards the formation of the unit. Currently, the unit exists as the Rapid Deployment Squadron (RDS) of the Kenya Air Force.
According to KDF, RDS trains in many locations in Kenya and abroad. KDF’s website further revealed that training type and location is determined by the nature of the skills to be imparted.
In Kenya there is no single location where all these skills are trained, KDF says.
Other trainings are jointly done with other units of sister services such as Special Forces and rangers of the army and sailors from the navy.
KDF’s Magazine Volume 6 revealed that apart from carrying personnel recovery and Combat Search & Rescue the unit is envisaged also to perform an array of missions including; support to security personnel at vital/strategic installations, carry out special operations in enemy territories and counter terrorism missions such as close quarter battle, room/building clearance bomb detonation among others.
RDS headquarters is at Moi Air Base, Eastleigh.
Being in its early formative stages, KDF says that RDS continue to be equipped with modern equipment.
Currently is has variety of equipment such as Medium lift transport Aircraft, Combat Support Helicopters, Armored personnel carriers, Zodiac Boats, Mountaineering Gear, Tactical ground radars, Assorted array of communication equipment and Assorted light weapons.