The United States military has for the first time awarded a contract to a Djiboutian company to expand its facilities at Camp Lemonnier.
On 2 June the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA) awarded the first construction contract under the Djibouti First initiative. The contract was awarded to Nalco Construction Company, a qualified Djiboutian owned company, to renovate the Building 213 conference room. The project will include demolition and replacement of existing light fixtures, floor, ceiling, and door. It will also include interior painting and adding new furniture to the facility. The work is estimated to be complete in the next few months.
U.S. Congress passed legislation in 2014 to give contractual preference to qualified Djiboutian businesses that provide goods and services to Camp Lemonnier, the US Navy said on 7 July.
The United States is currently installing a new AN/GPN-27 Airport Surveillance Radar System at Camp Lemonnier to increase air traffic safety. It should be fully operational by August.
The United States military flies numerous aircraft out of Camp Lemonnier, including U-28A surveillance aircraft, F-15E Strike Eagles and C-130 Hercules transports. RQ-1/MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles were also flown out of Camp Lemonnier before moving to Chabelley airfield after a number of crashes.
The base is also used by a number of other foreign militaries, such as Japan, France, Luxembourg and Spain, which base their anti-piracy maritime patrol aircraft there for flights over Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. Foreign contingents usually deploy with P-3 Orion and CN235 maritime patrol aircraft.
In February China said it had begun construction of a logistics base in Djibouti. Last year, China said it was in talks to build what it describes as naval “support facilities” in the Horn of Africa nation. Djibouti, strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal, is already home to US and French bases, while other navies often use its port.