NIGER’S MINISTER of the Interior and Public Security, Hassoumi Massaoudou, announced on October 22 that the country has bought an unspecified reconnaissance aircraft. It will be used as part of its efforts to combat Islamist fighters and criminal gangs operating in the sparsely-inhabited country.
The country used 7 billion CFA francs ($13.5 million) of its own funds to purchase the aircraft, which Massaoudou said has already been delivered. It will be operated by Niger’s intelligence service, the General Direction of Documentation and External Security. He declined to provide any further details of the purchase or the type of aircraft involved.
Previously, the Niger Air Force has acquired two Diamond Aircraft DA42 MPPs in an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) configuration. In addition, Niger is currently in the process of acquiring a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX in an ISR configuration. As reported earlier in the news section on this website, Cessna was awarded a contract on September 19 to provide the aircraft, while L-3 Communications received a contract for integration of the ISR equipment on the previous day.
As the new Grand Caravan is not due to enter service until September 2015, the aircraft referred to by Hassoumi must be a different aircraft, if it has indeed already been delivered. Alan Warnes