A document shared by American publications affirms the will of the United States to build a permanent base of drones in the city of Agadez, the capital of northern Niger.
According to this document, negotiations between representatives of the Pentagon and the Nigerien government began in 2015 and focused on the granting of land adjacent to Base 201 of the Nigerien army, in order to build an airstrip there. of 1,830 m, an aircraft parking space of 17,458 m² and three mobile hangars to house airplanes. As well as the defense and reception facilities for the troops to protect the area.
The 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron at Niger Air Base 201 is a United States drone airbase near Agadez, Niger. The base is about 5 km southeast of Agadez. It is owned by the Nigerien military but built and paid for by the United States.
Niger Drone Base
In October 2017, the Islamic State killed four US military officers and five Nigeriens soldiers in Niger; the ambush was widely reported by media agencies in the U.S. and around the world. It was one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces in Africa since the ‘Black Hawk Down’ battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, 24 years earlier.
In 2016, the U.S. announced a plan to build a $100-million-dollar military base right in the middle of Niger to help combat radical groups and protect its border from insurgents. The U.S. military base in Agadez is headquarters to the drone and surveillance programs operating in Niger, Mali, Libya, and beyond. Today more than 800 U.S. troops are based in Niger and over 6,000 throughout the entire African continent.
This new American base, less than 300 km from the border with Algeria, will allow the United States to deploy C17 heavy carriers, MQ9 drones and various light aircraft for ISR. The United States has already been using Niger for almost a decade for surveillance and the deployment of special forces. It was in 2014 that Captain Rick Cook, chief of the Africa Command’s Engineer Division, who first mentioned the importance of the potential of building a semi-permanent base in Niger in the fight against terrorism, explains The Intercept article.
The new U.S.-constructed air base in Agadez, Niger, is now fully operational, carrying out its first unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights this week, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The U.S. military has flown drones from Niger’s capital, Niamey, but set up the new base in Agadez to extend the reach of its surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the volatile Lake Chad Basin area of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, according to a U.S. defense official.
The U.S. military’s newly built approximately 20,800-square foot hangar along with its own 100,000-square foot apron and associated taxiway at its new airbase outside of the city of Agadez in central Niger. The American facilities in Agadez, which will form an important regional hub for U.S. military operations in Northwest Africa.
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