Niger Air Force gets new helicopter hangar
Written by Guy Martin, Tuesday, 22 October 2013
The new hangar was formally opened on October 17 at the Niger Air Force’s Base Aerienne 101 next to Niamey-Diori Hamani International Airport in a ceremony attended by various French and Nigerien officials, including French Ambassador to Niger Christophe Bouchard and Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces, Admiral Edouard Guillard.
The hangar, which cost 270 million CFA francs ($56,761 million), was completely funded by the French government, which also provided the three Gazelle helicopters, according to Air Forces Daily.
The hangar has an area of 9 420 square feet (875 square metres) and can accommodate up to six light helicopters. Facilities also include a 88 300 square foot (2 500 square metre) apron.
The Niger Air Force’s three Gazelles were officially handed over in a ceremony on March 27 this year at Base Aerienne 101. The ex-French Army Air Corps aircraft were refurbished by Aerotech Group SAS in France prior to delivery and are armed with 20 mm cannons.
French company DCI has trained six Niger Air Force helicopter pilots in France and Niger, who graduated in March this year. Additional aircrew are to be trained under an extended project, with three more pilots and six mechanics undergoing training from November 1.
Niger has been expanding its Air Force of late, especially with French and US help – historical ally France provides the most military assistance. Most recently, Niger on July 5 received two Cessna 208B Grand Caravans from the United States, to be used for border security and cargo missions. The aircraft were purchased by the US government under an $11 million package that covered the initial costs of the aircraft and related expenses, including maintenance and pilot training.
Niger’s Air Force has only a few combat aircraft in its inventory, including a couple of Mi-24 attack helicopters. However, it received a major boost earlier this year when it formally received two Su-25 attack aircraft on March 27. Originally destined for Mali, they were sold to Niger after the Mali deal fell through. They were refurbished by the Zaporozhye State Aviation Repair Factory in Ukraine prior to delivery, reports Air Forces Daily.
Other aircraft in the Niger Air Force’s fleet include two Diamond DA 42 MPP aircraft, used for surveillance, three Humbert Tetras light aircraft, a single C-130 Hercules transport, a Boeing 737-200, a single Dornier 28 and Dornier 228 and a couple of Mi-17s.
The DA 42s will be upgraded by the US government with new sensors and communications equipment in order to combat trafficking, smuggling and terrorist in the region. Niger has become a smuggling route for weapons from Libya reaching al Qaeda militants deeper in the Sahara since Muammar Gaddafi's fall in late 2011. Thousands of gunmen and tonnes of weapons and ammunition flowed south, mainly to Mali, after the collapse of Libya.
The US military has run training programmes for Niger's army for years under its counter-terrorism programme in the Sahel and has deployed about 100 military personnel and drones in Niger as part of the operation to dislodge Islamic militants from neighbouring Mali.
Top stories this week
- Niger buys "spy plane" to combat Sahel militants
- US seeking river boats for Chad and Niger
- US Reaper UAV crashes on landing at airport in Niamey
- French forces launch raid in Niger against al Qaeda units
- Regional leaders step up Boko Haram fight with troops, command centre
- Algeria army ambushes, arrests group on Niger border
- French troops edge closer to Libya border to cut off Islamists
- US to supply Caravan aircraft to Mauritania, Niger and Kenya
- Land Cruisers for Africa
- Niger takes delivery of new Boeing 737 presidential jet
Jens Thostrup - new head of PMR Terminals Business and Indirect Sales at Airbus Defence and Space
by AIRBUS Defence & Space, 30 October 2014
He replaces Pierre Lopez as head of the Terminals Business and Indirect Sales.
Nautic Africa signs exclusive agency agreement with Doen Pacific
by Nautic Africa, 29 October 2014
Nautic will install water-jet systems at competitive pricing for its customers in the sub-Saharan region.
New-generation Saab surface radar on track, in production
by Saab, 29 October 2014
Production of the first Giraffe 4A system for an undisclosed customer is ongoing at Saab in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Sustained revenue growth, strong order book drive Denel's new growth era
by Denel Corporate, 29 October 2014
The company's financial results for 2013/2014 show revenue growth of 17%, improved profit and the largest multi-year order book in its history.
Saab and Brazil sign contract for Gripen NG
by Saab, 28 October 2014
The defence company will develop and produce 36 Gripen NG fighter aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force.
Airbus Defence and Space boasts outstanding young scientists
by AIRBUS Defence & Space, 22 October 2014
Andreas Hofmann from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg won the prize for the best bachelor's thesis.