Military Wiki
Kenyan Navy
Jeshi la Wanamaji la Kenya
Kenya Navy logo.png
Coat of Arms of the Kenya Navy
Active 1964–present
Country  Kenya
Branch Navy
Part of Flag of the Kenya Defence Forces.svg Kenya Defence Forces
Command Headquarters Nairobi
Engagements Operation Linda Nchi (2011-12)
Commander-in-Chief President Uhuru Kenyatta
Ceremonial chief Maj-Gen. Ngewa Mukala

Naval Ensign

Kenya Navy is the naval branch of Kenyan military forces. It is headquartered in Mombasa.

Kenya Navy has Mtongwe base in Mombasa, Shimoni, Msambweni, Malindi, Kilifi and since 1995[1] another base located in Manda (part of Lamu Archipelago).


The Kenyan Navy was established on 12 December 1964, exactly one year after Kenya gained independence. It was preceded by the colonial Royal East African Navy (REAN).[2] Following the disbanding of the REAN in 1962, the East African Railways and Harbours Co-operations assumed control of naval operations in the former East African colonies until the independent states established their own navies.[3]

In 1972 at State House, Mombasa, Major JCJ Kimaro is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel by the HE President Jomo Kenyatta and appointed as the first commander of the Kenyan Navy. He died in a tragic road accident in 1978 and Major General E S Mbilu took over the command of the Kenya Navy until his retirement in 1988 where, Brigadier JRE Kibwana is promoted to Major General and appointed the Navy Commander replacing Major General E S Mbilu.

On 4 September 2012 the Kenyan Navy shelled the Somali city of Kismayo. This was part of an African Union offensive to capture the city from al-Shabab fighters during the War in Somalia. The harbour was shelled two times and the airport three times. According to a UN report the export of charcoal through Kismayo is a major source of income for al-Shabab.[4]


Presidential Colour of the Navy

The nomenclature of ranks in the Kenyan navy is not in line with traditional naval ranks; it is more in line with land forces assignments:

Officer ranks

  • Second Lieutenant (Midshipman)
  • Lieutenant (Sub-Lieutenant)
  • Captain (First Lieutenant)
  • Major (Lieutenant Commander)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Commander)
  • Colonel (Captain)
  • Brigadier (Commodore)
  • Major General (Rear-Admiral)
  • Lieutenant-General (Vice Admiral)
  • General (Admiral)

Notable members

Commander of the Navy


Current Vessels

KNS Shujaa and KNS Nyayo during India's International Fleet Review.

  • Jasiri Class survey ship and offshore patrol vessel
    • P3124 KNS Jasiri
Built as an oceanographic survey vessel but latter fitted with armament at the navy's Mkunguni dock yard. Commissioned into the navy on 29 August 2012. It currently is the largest vessel in the fleet.
Former French P400 class patrol vessel La Rieuse. Donated by France for anti-piracy patrols .[5]
  • Shupavu Class large patrol boats, Gondan shipyard Spain.[6]
    • P6129 KNS Shujaa
    • P6130 KNS Shupavu
Built to civilian standards in 1997 and entered service in 1997. Armed with a 76mm and a 30mm gun in Kenya.[7]
Built by Vosper Thornycroft, these are similar to the Omani Province class, and were delivered in 1987.[7][8] Armed with 4 Otomat SSM, 1 76 mm OTO DP, 1 dual 30 mm AA, 2 20 mm machine guns[9] From March 2009 to July 2011 these ships underwent an extensive refit at Fincantieri's Muggiano shipyard in northern Italy, during which their surface-to-surface missile (SSM) systems were removed, effectively reducing the vessels to an OPV configuration.[10]
  • Madaraka Class small missile boats
    • P3100 KNS Mamba – classed as Mamba Class
    • (For three other boats see retired Madaraka Class boats below)
Delivered from 1974–1976 (Mamba was delivered in 1976) and built by Brooke Marine along with three others of the class.[11] KNS Mamba has a non-functioning missile system and is currently used as an OPV. Remainder of the class decommissioned[7][12] and placed in reserve status.[9] Formerly armed with 4 Gabriel SSM, 1 dual 30 mm AA.[9]
  • Galana Class/River Class medium landing ship (LSM) /coastal logistics ships
    • L39 KNS Tana
    • L38 KNS Galana
Built by Construnaves-CEN, Gondan, Spain and delivered in December 1993 from Spain and entered service in 1994.[1][7] Used for logistics.[9] These ships are unarmed and used for amphibious warfare.
  • Archangel class RHIB (jet boat)[13]
    • 1 – 12-metre IPV
Built by SAFE Boats International and donated by the USA in 2006 to reduce gun and drug running.[7]
  • USGS Defender Class RHIB with outboard motors[14]
    • 5 – 7-metre IPVs were built by SAFE Boats International and donated by the USA in 2006 to reduce gun and drug running.[7]
  • P101 Class IPVs
    • P943
    • P944
    • P945
    • P946
    • P947
These ex-Spanish Navy patrol boats were built by ARESA (Arenys del Mar, Barcelona) from 1978 to 1982 and procured by Kenya in 1995. Each is 12m long, with a top speed of 16kts, and armed with a 12.7mm machine gun.[7]
  • Personnel Tenders
Two built by Cowes in 1998. Each can carry 136 passengers.[7]
  • YTB Harbour Tug
    • KNS Ngamia
Built by James Lamont, Port Glasgow in 1969 for Mombasa Port Authority and transferred to the navy in 1983.

Future Vessels

Past Vessels

The Kenya navy has replaced many older vessels from the navy's early years, mostly transfers from the Royal East African Navy via the Royal Navy.

  • Ford class seaward defence boat
    • KNS Nyati
Donated by the Royal Navy in 1964 and used as a training vessel. It was formerly known HMS Aberford.[8] It was sold for scrap in 1971.
  • Vosper Thornycroft 110' training craft
Training craft was retired in 2000.
  • Simba Class patrol crafts (from the UK)
    • P3110 KNS Simba – retired 2000
    • P3111 KNS Chui
    • P3112 KNS Ndovu
These boats were delivered from Britain in 1966. These ships were built by Vosper Thornycroft. KNS Simba was decommissioned in 1997.[15]
  • Madaraka Class missile boats (UK)
    • P3122 KNS Jamhuri
    • P3123 KNS Harambee
    • P3121 KNS Madaraka
These missile boats were delivered in 1976 along with KNS Mamba, and were built by Brooke Marine.[11] KNS Madaraka was decommissioned in 2000, and KNS Jamhuri and KNS Harambee in 2002.[7][12]


External links

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