USAF airmen assigned to the 409th Air Expeditionary Group watch as a C-130J Super Hercules taxis in at Nigerien Air Base 201, Agadez, Niger, on Aug. 3, 2019. The C-130 landing marked the next step in airfield evaluations by starting Visual Flight Rules operations at the base. Air Force photo by SSgt. Devin Boyer.
Air operations, armed and unarmed, are now underway from the Air Force’s newest operating location in Africa.
Nigerien Air Base 201 started intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights after the US and Niger finished the long process of reaching an agreement that allows armed and unarmed assets to fly in the country, US Africa Command said in a Nov. 1 statement. The pact aims to strengthen a partnership to fight violent extremist groups in the region.
“We are working with our African and international partners to counter security threats in West Africa,” US Africa Command boss Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said. “The construction of this base demonstrates our investment in our African partners and mutual security interests in the region.”
US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa boss Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian said the base is part of “flexible and diverse postures” across Africa and for local security efforts.
The base began limited operations in August as it awaited final approvals from the Nigerien Civil Aviation Authority. Construction on the base—the largest USAF-led military construction project ever—began in 2016. It is the second US operating location in Niger, with another presence at Nigerien Air Base 101 near the capital of Niamey.