The United States has delivered a second C-130H Hercules transport aircraft to Nigér, a third C-130H will arrive in the first half of 2022.
The C-130H (5U-MMS) was handed over on 7 December, during a ceremony at the Nigérien Air Base 101 in the capital Niamey. The aircraft will be used for humanitarian assistance operations and United Nations troop and vehicle movements.
A C-130H was earlier delivered in January this year. The US plans to deliver three C-130Hs in total to Niger. In addition, the US intends to start construction on a new C-130 hangar at BA101 in order to ensure Niger has adequate facilities to fly and maintain these aircraft.
United States has invested more than $30 million in Nigér’s C-130 programme including a training component, purchase of spare parts, infrastructure, fuel and support equipment.
In 2015, Niger requested a WC-130H aircraft and a wing set (total acquisition value $63 million) and in 2019 requested four T56-A-15 engines and propellers for the Hercules, worth $6 million.
The United States has trained 16 Nigerien pilots, 19 maintenance personnel, five baggage handlers and a flight engineer. Also, more than $17 million has been injected into the acquisition of critical infrastructure including the renovation of a hangar for the C-130 at Air Base Number 201 in Agadez, according to Ambassador Eric Whitaker.
In Arkansas, Little Rock Air Force Base’s C-130 Formal Training Unit provided the country with an international pilot training program, which graduatedthe first Nigerien female pilot and educated other pilots in the program.