U.S moves Djibouti Reaper drone fleet to remote location amid safety concerns

The Washington Post has revealed that the Governement of Djibouti has asked the U.S. to move its fleet of Reaper UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) away from Camp Lemonnier due to local population concerns regards their safety.

The Post revealed that there has been at least five crashes since January 2011 close to the base, which also serves as the country’s only International Airport.

The Djibouti government was concerned due to the amount of air traffic now flying from the airfield, not only the UAV movements numbering around 16 per day but also of the other military aircraft movements. The Post report also revealed that a Reaper crash had shut down the Seychelles only International airport that serves the popular holiday destination.

They also argued that a shared military/civilian facility would also increase the risk to civilians, should militants attack the airfield in retaliation to the drone strikes launched from the same location. The Reaper fleet has for the time being been moved to another airfield in the country which is in a more remote location therefore not posing such a risk to local civilians.

The U.S. Air force has found a short term alternative in Djibouti’s desert at Chabelley airfield a little used and (more importantly) remote airfield (to the SW of Djibouti) and has upgraded the facility so they can use it for Reaper operations. It remains to be seen if this is going to be used long term or that the U.S. is going to need to find a new location to continue its operations (and shadow war) from the Horn of Africa.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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1 Comment

  1. Iran Shahed-129 becomes operational
    Latest IRGC UAV, Shahed-129 became operational
    In a ceremony attended by Major General Jafari latest IRGC AF UAV was unveiled.

    He said that in one year shahed-129 have turned from a reconnaissance UAV to a UCAV(unmanned combat air vehicle)

    He also said that iran has completed scientific work and reverse engineering of RQ-170 and many parts of this UAV have been designed indigenously and in near future we will have good news on RQ-170.


    Brigadier Haji zadah announced Shahed-129 features:
    it can carry 8 bombs and missiles at the same time
    it has a flight endurance of 24 hours,range of 1700kms and flight ceiling of 24,000 feet
    it can monitor 200kms around it
    it took 4 years to design and build it
    it has a 100 thousand toman of cost per one hour of flight
    it has entered mass production under orders of General Jafari and will be used to monitor Iran’s borders



    The one on the right(final product) has retractable landing gear

    And it is quite larger than Hermes 450 so it can’t be a copy of it



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