Author: Guy Martin | Defence Web
12/01/2021 – Niger’s Air Force has officially taken delivery of a C-130H Hercules transport aircraft from the United States.
It was accepted in a ceremony on 4 January at Air Base 101 in Niamey attended by the United States Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, Ambassador Eric Whitaker, Nigerian Minister of National Defence Issoufou Katambe, and Nigerien Armed Forces Chief of Staff, General Salifou Mody.
The ceremony consisted of the celebration of the arrival of the aircraft (5U-MBH) after years of preparation and planning. Since 2015, the United States said it has invested more than $30 million in the development of the Niger Air Force’s C-130 programme including a training component, purchase of spare parts, infrastructure, fuel and support equipment.
During the ceremony, Whitaker said “As Niger strives to establish peace and security in the region, I am certain that the Niger Armed Forces, along with the C-130 which has just joined its air fleet, will continue to position itself as a model both in terms of operational efficiency in the theatre of operations, and in the professionalism with which airmen and soldiers behave whether or not they are in service.”
The arrival of the C-130H places Niger among the 70 nations in the world equipped with the type. “The C-130 provides vital logistics capabilities for national defence which spans seven borders with neighbouring countries. In addition to supporting Niger in the return of the C-130, the United States of America has invested in crew training and infrastructure. Ambassador Whitaker pointed out that the United States has trained 16 Nigerien pilots, 19 maintenance personnel, five baggage handlers and a flight engineer. In addition, the United States has injected more than $17 million in the acquisition of critical infrastructure including the renovation of a hangar for the C-130 at Air Base Number 201 in Agadez,” the US Embassy said.