AGADEZ, Niger – The U.S. conducted a turnover and dedication ceremony of a new C-130 hangar to the Nigerien Air Force at Nigerien Air Base 201, Jan. 22.
Several prominent civic leaders from the surrounding community, including the governor, mayor, and sultan of Agadez, attended the ceremony alongside both Department of State and U.S. Africa command leadership.
"We have shared goals of security in the region," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven deMilliano, deputy director of strategy, engagement, and programs directorate for U.S. Africa Command. "This milestone ceremony marks an advancement of our partners' air capabilities by providing baseline infrastructure for their incoming aircraft, which ultimately lays the groundwork for increased organic air mobility to better support operations within the region."
The construction of the hangar was funded by the Department of State and was forged by approximately 90 Agadez citizens and other international workers within a year. The hangar itself is comprised of 58 tons of steel and includes an engine maintenance room, supply storage, training area, battery, and tool rooms.
"This hangar, which will not only boost the operational capabilities of the Nigerien Armed Forces by allowing the deployment of C-130 flights, but will also strengthen joint actions between the Nigerien and U.S. forces," said Colonel Abdoul Kader Amirou, deputy chief of staff for the Nigerien Air Force, during his remarks.
The hangar will ultimately shelter up to two C-130 mobility aircraft, recently purchased by the Nigerien Air Force from the United States.
Since 2016, the U.S. had invested more than $60M in "total package support" to Niger's C-130 program that will include a team of maintainers and training fuel upon arrival of the first aircraft later this spring.
"We fully recognize the efforts Niger is undertaking to confront these threats and commend the Nigerien Defense and Security Forces for their commitment and daily contributions to defending Niger and combating violent extremist organizations," said Ambassador Eric P. Whitaker, U.S. Ambassador to Niger." We will continue to actively engage with regional partners, including ECOWAS and G5 Sahel members, to enable African solutions to shared security issues."