Six Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were delivered to Niamey airport last month following a November 2021 order for the type from Turkey’s Baykar.
This was reported by RFI, with reports stating the six UAVs arrived at Niamey Airport in two Il-76 flights from a Ukrainian cargo company on 20 and 21 May.
Other reports indicate a UAV base is being built in the central region of the country, with an eye on monitoring the security situation in Libya and Mali.
Niger’s Presidency in March said that the country has ordered several TB2s “to strengthen its air fleet as part of the strategy to fight terrorism and secure our borders. These drones, which will be delivered in the coming months, will certainly allow our populations living in certain areas marked by insecurity to be able to live their daily lives with more serenity, in accordance with the commitment of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces to guarantee security to all our fellow citizens.”
Niger has also ordered armoured personnel carriers (APCs) from Turkey’s Nurol Makina, in addition to Hurkus turboprop trainer/light attack aircraft.
In November last year, Turkish President Recep Erdogan revealed that Niger was acquiring TB2 and Hurkus aircraft as well as APCs to boost the capacities of its military and security forces. The first Hurkus will be delivered by mid-2022.
Roketsan will be supplying missiles and smart rockets to Niger. They will likely be used to arm the Hurkus and TB2 aircraft – Roketsan manufactures the MAM and MAM-L guided munitions and UMTAS missiles used by the TB2. The Hurkus-C can carry L-UMTAS anti-tank guided missiles, Cirit laser-guided rockets, bombs, and cannon pods, although it is not clear which variant of the Hurkus Niger will be getting.
Turkey has sold its Bayraktar TB2 to Ethiopia, Ukraine, Morocco, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Poland.
The Bayraktar TB has a wingspan of 12 meters, endurance of 24 hours, and a mission range of 150 km. It is powered by a Rotax 912 engine.