US Air Force drones in a new base in Niger are now locked and loaded against terrorist threats
U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Cory D. Payne/Handout via REUTERS
- Nigerien Air Base 201, a US-constructed base in Niger, will finally begin counterterrorism operations using intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) drones.
- The massive project costed $110 million, and experienced delays due to inclement weather conditions.
- Here's are some key details about Nigerien Air Base 201.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A $110 million Nigerien air base constructed by the US will finally begin counterterrorism operations using intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) drones after delays due to inclement weather conditions, the military announced on Friday.
"We are working with our African and international partners to counter security threats in West Africa," US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the combatant command overseeing US operations in the continent, said in a statement. "The construction of this base demonstrates our investment in our African partners and mutual security interests in the region."
The base is called Nigerien Air Base 201, and is located in the desert region of Agadez, a strategic transit area for migrants. Both US and Nigerien aircraft will use the runways to launch armed and unarmed air assets against extremists operating in West and North Africa, the military said.
While the US-constructed base will be under Nigerien control, American forces will have exclusive use of around 20% of the roughly 9-mile base, military officials previously said to Stars and Stripes.
The base was expected to be operational in 2018, but the rainy season and other "environmental complexities" caused a delay, a US official said to The Air Force Times.
Here's are some key details about Nigerien Air Base 201:
Around 600 US Air Force Airmen are estimated to deploy for six-month tours.
The construction project has also benefited Nigerien locals.
Numerous terrorist group operate within the region.
Four US troops and four Nigerien soldiers were killed in a 2017 terrorist ambush.
Since 2013, the number of US troops in Niger has risen.
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