Wow, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the Pentagon’s bastion in the Horn of Africa, has grown like crazy. While we’ve all heard it was expanding, I hadn’t seen anything to give a sense of how massive its growth has been, until now.
I hadn’t look at Google Maps satellite pics of the base in a long time, maybe a year, until today. What used to be a fairly modest facility — compared to other expeditionary American air bases– on the south end of Djibouti’s main airport has ballooned into something serious.
(The French may still have an ammo storage facility there, older Google Maps images frequently showed French fighter jets at the ex-Foreign Legion base)
The pic above shows four C-130 Hercules (possibly two Marine Corps KC-130 tankers and three Air Force Special Operations Command AC –130s or MC-130s judging by the paint schemes), three Navy or Marine Corps M/CH-53E heavy lift choppers, three AFSOC U-28As and what looks like one C-12 Huron (it may be an Army RC-12 or an Air Force MC-12 Liberty).
Further to the right (East) of the main American ramp along the new south taxiway you can make out a small, clamshell hangar-equipped ramp sitting by itself for drone operations.
Keep scanning to the East of the drone ramp and you can see another C-130, three P-3 Orion submarine-killers (possibly used to hunt Somali pirates) and six F-15E Strike Eagle bombers. This is the first I’ve even seen what are likely American strike fighters sitting on the ramp of the African base (ok maybe they’re Saudi or Israeli, but I doubt it). There also appears to be a special walled-off facility within the American facility. I wonder who’s operating out of there. Look to the south of the Drone facility and you can see the big white radomes of some type of signals facility.
Click though the jump to check out some close up pics of the base via OSGEOINT.
Click here to learn more about the Pentagon’s increasing presence in Africa.
The picture below shows what appears to be an Predator or Reaper UAV.