Public Intelligence have constructed a map illustrating the various U.S. drone sites scattered across the African continent. A wonderful snapshot, the map is a real eye-opener, and demonstrates how quickly unmanned surveillance has spread to North and West Africa from the “Af-Pak” heartland. AFRICOM (Africa Command) is widely discussed as a “new front”in the post-9/11 war on terror. The bases themselves are stripped-down, with minimal infrastructure – part of a “lily pad” strategy employed by the U.S. military to maximize spatial extent and minimize human resources.
That adds to 9 separate countries hosting drones and surveillance aircraft (usually the popular Pilatus PC-12 pl
- Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti: The U.S. Naval Expeditionary base is located at the Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport and serves as a hub of secret operations in East Africa and the middle East – targeting Somalia and Yemen since at least 209.
- Arba Minch Airport, Ethiopia: This base hosts armed MQ-9 Reaper flights over Somalia against al-Shabaab militants.
- Ouagadouga Airport, Burkina Faso: A key hub in the U.S. spying network, unarmed PC-12 airplines fly surveillance missions over Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara.
- Niamey, Niger: Hosted PC-12 surveillance flights since 2012. Will be updgraded to host Predators in support of French operations in Mali.
- Nzara, South Sudan: One of the locations intended as a future base for surveillance flights, spurred by efforts to assist the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, and the Republic of South Sudan to defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army in central Africa.
- Entebbe, Uganda: Since 2009 at least, the U.S. military has outsourced surveillance flights using PC-12 aircraft to defense contractors. “The flights are part of a secret project codenamed Tusker Sand that searches for Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, processing imagery from over the airspace of Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic”
- Manda Bay, Kenya: While drone flights haven’t been confirmed, the base serves as an all-purpose hub for the U.S. military, and the Navy is currently spending millions to upgrade the runway. Strikes in Somalia have rumoured to originate from craft flown from Manda Bay.
- St. Victoria, Seychelles: The Seychelles International Airport has hosted drones since at least 2009.
See previous posts on this topic: