The US is increasing its troops and surveillance resources in Africa.
10/10 – Strategy Page – Intelligence: Long Eyes in Central Africa – (Yeah, I’ve been holding this post for a while.) The U.S. is building its second airbase in Africa, this time in Agadez, Niger. Aerial surveillance aircraft will fly out of the base along with unmanned UAVs, including armed UAVs, according to the article.
This base will serve growing intel needs in Libya, Chad, and Nigeria, according to the article. It is also next door to Mali so it can support intel needs there.
You can see Agadez in the following map:
You can put Niger into context of western Africa in this map. Notice the location next to multiple countries where there are increased security issues.
For an idea of what is possible, consider the article says in 2013 the U.S. base in Djibouti, adjacent to Somalia, hosted 10 Reaper UAVs, 4 Predator UAVs, 6 U-28s, and 8 F-15Es. In 2014 the resource tally increased.
That is a lot of air resources.
USAF has 28 U-28As in inventory. They carry a crew of 4 and can haul 9 passengers. I compare that roughly to a Caravan. The U-28A is used by Special Operations Command. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a ground attack fighter which would be loaded with lots of electronics for surveillance.