Airmen from the US Air Force’s 635th Material Maintenance Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, deployed to N’Djamena, Chad on 7 January 2018 to assist the Chadian Air Force to erect maintenance shelters and provide maintenance training for their critical aircraft.
This effort was initiated last year due to a large-scale wind storm that destroyed Chadian Air Force aircraft and aircraft maintenance shelters located in the main airfield in N’Djamena.
At the request of Chadian government and military leadership, representatives from U.S. Africa Command traveled to N’Djamena to meet with the Office of Security Cooperation and Chadian leadership to develop a plan to assist the Chadian Air Force.
The team on the ground is currently working to erect three Large Area Maintenance Shelters (LAMS) to house some of Chad’s aircraft, including Cessna 208Bs which are scheduled to arrive soon. The first shelter is 85% complete and the team is scheduled to complete all three shelters by mid-February, the US military said.
The LAMS were requisitioned through the use of the Lake Chad Basin U.S. Presidential Drawdown Authority. U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Air Forces Africa will continue to provide further assistance to the Chadian Air Force through follow-on security force assistance and building partnership capacity activities. More information will be posted following the completion of the mission, the US military said.
A significant portion of Chad’s air force was destroyed in a powerful storm that hit N’Djamena on 1 July with torrential rain and strong winds.
At least three AS350/AS550C Fennec helicopters (out of six received second hand from Singapore in 2009/2010) were seriously damaged, with tail booms ripped off and rotor blades destroyed.
The Air Force’s single PC-12 appeared to have suffered moderate damage and at least two Su-25s (a single seater and a two seater) received moderate damage. Chad received ten Su-25s from the Ukraine between 2008 and 2013.
A MiG-29 may have suffered minor damage after its hangar was destroyed, with photos showing the aircraft covered in debris – many of the hangars were constructed of fabric with metal supports and appear to have been completely destroyed by the storm. Chad ordered three MiG-29s from the Ukraine around 2013, but only one has been confirmed as delivered.