The United States has offered Niger an ex-US Air Force WC-130H Hercules aircraft under its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme.
The most recent EDA database notes that the Hercules was offered on 9 November 2015, but has yet to be accepted.
According to Air Forces Daily, the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, has a single WC-130H in storage. This was formerly operated by the Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 156th Airlift Wing/198th Airlift Squadron at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Puerto Rico. Several more are still in active service with Puerto Rico’s Air National Guard.
Air Forces Daily notes the WC-130H arrived at Davis-Monthan on 7 June 2016. It is valued at $12 720 000. It was offered in October 2015.
The WC-130H was used in weather reconnaissance and aerial sampling. It was modified to penetrate hurricanes and typhoons to collect meteorological data that make advanced warnings of such storms possible. Weather reconnaissance equipment gathers information on movement, intensity and size of storms; outside air temperature; humidity; dewpoint; and barometric pressure. The WC-130H is capable of staying aloft nearly 15 hours during missions when equipped with two external 5 320 litre fuel tanks and an internal 6 480 litre fuel tank.
The United States is supplying a C-130 wing set to Niger, valued at $265 540. This was accepted by Niger on 19 April 2016, according to the EDA database. It is not clear if this is for the WC-130H or Niger’s sole surviving C-130H (the country bought two new C-130Hs which were delivered in 1979 but one crashed in April 1997, killing 14 people).
Other aircraft in Niger’s transport fleet include two Dornier Do 28/228s, a Boeing 737-200 and a couple of Cessna Caravans. Diamond DA 42 and ULM Tetra aircraft are used for surveillance and other tasks. The Caravans were delivered in October 2015 by the United States and configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.