The U.S. Air Force declared initial operational capability of its new Nigerien Air Base 201, commonly known as drone airbase, that located in Agadez, Niger.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, Airmen have completed several major construction projects at Nigerien Air Base 201 to include the runway and significant portions of the infrastructure. As with any new airfield, there are a series of assessments that must happen and procedures that must be developed before full flying operations can begin. In support of these assessments, the Nigerien Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) and the Nigerien air force and U.S. Air Force agreed to begin flying limited, Visual Flight Rule operations into Air Base 201 beginning Aug. 1.
“We are projecting the start of full flying operations sometime later this year,” wrote in a statement.
The base is located around 5 km southeast of Agadez. It is owned by the Nigerien military but built and paid for by the United States.
“I’m proud of the tremendous work our Airmen accomplished in completing the largest ever Airmen-led construction project in Air Force history. Air Base 201 gives Niger and the U.S. incredible capability in a challenging region of the world. This joint-use runway allows for a better response to regional security requirements and provides strategic access and flexibility. Our Airmen are creative, adaptive and capable of rapidly making decisions, and there is no better example of that than the airfield they built at Nigerien Air Base 201,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander.
The U.S. is committed to supporting Niger in the opening of the new runway at Nigerien Air Base 201 and responding to regional security issues.
When completed, it will be operated by the U.S. military as an MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft base.
Expected that new base will serve as a hub for operations in the region. The 323rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron will fly MQ-9 Reapers out of the installation.