US hands over second C-130H Hercules to Niger

A second C-130H Hercules has been delivered by the US Government to Niger to join the Armée de l’Air du Nigér (Niger Air Force) inventory.

The aircraft, serial number 5UMMS, was formally handed over to the Minister of National Defense, Alkassoum Indatou, by US Major General James Kriesel, the National Guard Assistant to the Commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, during a ceremony in Niger on December 7 at Base Aérienne 101 (BA101) Niamey-Diori Hamani.

Since renewing its partnership with Niger on the C-130 program in 2015, the US has provided over $30 million dollars to ensure its success.

This has included delivering training and technical assistance to Niger Air Force flight and maintenance crews; supplying spare parts and equipment; and providing aircraft fuel.

The new Niger Air Force C-130H Hercules, 5UMMS, at the hand over ceremony on December 7 at Base Aérienne 101 (BA101) Niamey-Diori HamaniUSAF Tech Sgt Stephanie Longoria

Some $17 million of this support has furnished critical infrastructure – the US recently funded the refurbishment of the hangar in which the hand-over ceremony was held, which can accommodate two Hercules.

Additionally, the US built a C-130 Hangar at BA201 in Agadez and will soon complete a warehouse for spare aviation parts at BA101.

During the hand-over ceremony, it was also announced that next year 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.

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.

The US plans to deliver three C-130Hs in total to Niger, of which 5UMMS was the second. The first was Niger’s sole remaining example, 5UMBH, which was totally refurbished in the US and then redelivered on January 4, 2021. The latter has since then undertaken various humanitarian assistance operations and United Nations troop and vehicle movements. The third Hercules is scheduled for delivery in April 2022.