West Africa the Worlds New Drone Hub.

Five years ago Nigeria was the only country in the region operating armed attack drones. Since the news of a CH-3 Rainbow drone surfaced in 2014, West Africa has become the hub of attack drones.

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The crash of a  NAF CH-3A Rainbow attack drone  in Maiduguri revealed Nigeria had been operating armed attack drones in secrecy.

UNITED STATES

The US already has a military presence in Niger. Since 2013 it has been conducting surveillance drone operations from the Niamey base against terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda. It has been doing so alongside France which also used the compound to battle jihadism in the region, including in Mali.

The U.S maintains two Reaper drone bases in Niamey and Agadez, Niger Republic. One Drone base in Garoua Cameroon and is constructing a surveillance and radio frequency listening post in Ghana.

The price tag for the construction and operation of a key US military drone base in Niger has skyrocketed, reaching $200 million.

These drone projects are considered the most important US military construction effort in Africa.
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On the scorching edge of the Sahara Desert, the U.S. Air Force is building a base for armed drones, the newest front in America’s battle against the growing extremist…
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Air Base 101 in Niamey, the capital of Niger, currently houses US two U.S Reaper drone bases.

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Construction of a hangar on the new American drone base last week in Agadez, Niger.  Credit Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

NIGERIA

Nigeria operates a fleet of four CH-3 Rainbow armed attack drones. Apart from surveillance the drones are armed with AR-1 anti tank missile, a Chinese adaptation to the American hellfire missile.

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A Nigerian CH-3 Rainbow attack drones with two AR-1 missiles on two hardpoints.
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Newly graduated Nigerian attack drone pilots.

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FRANCE

France mantains MQ-1 Reaper drone bases in Chad and Mali.

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