The United States African Command (AFRICOM) announced Friday that its Agadez air base, Niger, became operational, not only flying surveillance drones as originally expected, but also armed combat drones.
Flights from the base, called Air Base 201, began last week and patrols will help US and Nigeria military patrols eliminate regional ISIS terrorists and other Islamist factions that have been threatening the area. Specifically, US officials say the armed drone program is very necessary due to previous ISIS ambushes on US-Nigerian troops.
The Air Force Times described the greatest deadly attack of this type:
The measure comes just over two years after four Army soldiers were killed on October 4, 2017, in an attack on a joint US military patrol. UU. And Nigeria for an ISIS branch known as Islamic State in the Grand Sahara.
The United States Air Force that described the $ 110 million airfield built as one of the toughest places in the world from where the army operates, suffered multiple delays in establishing the base given the difficult remote desert environment.
“I would say that the construction of Air Base 201 will become one of the most Herculean efforts in the history of the United States Air Force,” said Brig. General Michael Rawls, of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing of the Air Force in Africa, described earlier this year.
Undoubtedly, this will further commit the Pentagon to a long-term presence in Niger in the midst of a broader continuous expansion of AFRICOM.