US Air Force Begins Flight Operations Out of Niger

New base meant to support intelligence operations in West Africa

The US Air Force has begun flying missions out of their new southern Sahara Desert airfield in Niger. The base is meant to be used for intelligence operations, but is also running resupply missions in the region.

US Air Force Europe says that the early flights are being conducted in part to assess the air field, which includes the largest ever Air Force-led construction project of a runway. The long-term intention is to begin using it for drone flights as well.

The US has long been interested in this being a base for flying drones across Western Africa. The Nigerien government has allowed the US to conduct drone strikes out of their territory, something they had previously opposed.

The airfield cost about $110 million, and faced repeated delays from sandstorms and locust swarms. Officials expect full flights to begin later this year.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of