U.S. Air Forces in Europe–Air Forces Africa delivered a second U.S. Air Force C-130H Hercules, formally transferred to the Nigerien armed forces during a December 7 ceremony at the Nigerien Air Base 101 in Niamey. The delivery marks the enduring commitment of the U.S. Air Force to support continued humanitarian operations and counter violent extremist organizations missions throughout the Sahel alongside Nigerien air force partners. Niger received the first of the three scheduled C-130 aircraft deliveries by the U.S. in January 2021, and has employed the mobility platform for various humanitarian assistance operations and United Nations troop and vehicle movements.
Since 2013, the U.S. has partnered with the Niger air force, matching millions of dollars, to revitalize its C-130 program. Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas’ C-130 Formal Training Unit provided an international pilot training program, which graduated the first Nigerien female pilot and educated other pilots in the program. The U.S. is providing enduring program support through infrastructure development, maintenance training, advisors, aviation parts, and other supporting equipment. The U.S. has recently refurbished a hangar, and funds are being provided to support the construction of a second hangar and an aviation parts warehouse.
U.S. Embassy in Niamey Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Susan N’Garnim said, “This momentous occasion is a testament to the long-standing, enduring and productive partnership between the United States and Niger.”
“We proudly stand alongside our Nigerien partners as we celebrate the enhanced strength of our coalition force,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. James Kriesel, National Guard assistant to the commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA. “Niger has built a defense framework committed to amplifying regional security and stability throughout the Sahel.”
In 2017, Niger became partners with the Indiana National Guard through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, and USAFE-AFAFRICA has expanded these relationships through security cooperation initiatives, force development programs, and participation in the recent Executive African Partnership Flight at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. USAFE-AFAFRICA’s presence in Niger reinforces commitment to the security and stability of the region by providing operational support and training resources to partners throughout the Sahel.