The US Army Builds Out: For Africa


2013-10-25 by Oscar Nkala


23 October 2013

The United States Africa Command (Africom) has awarded five major contracts for the supply and delivery of military equipment to Africa, including vehicles, tunnel detection systems and base infrastructure.

Africom has awarded Bukkehave Inc of Fort Lauderdale a contract for the supply of 10 Mercedes-Benz Atego 4×4 and 4×2 military trucks each to Burkina Faso, Burundi, Uganda, Niger, Libya and Chad and a sixth partner nation.

“The base requirement is for 10 (military) trucks for Burkina Faso. The option requirement includes a total of 50 trucks for the other Africom countries. All solicited options exercised at time of base award. Performance locations will be Germany and France with funding from fiscal 2013 other authority funds. This contract was a competitive acquisition via the web with two bids received,” the notice reads.

The awards came as the US Transportation Command renewed tenders for private contractors willing to provide two logistical support helicopters to be based in Obo in the south-east of the Central African Republic (CAR). The helicopters will be required to fly at least 150 hours a month, with a special “surge period” adding 30 more hours of flight time over a two-week period. These services will be required up to November 2015.

It also spells out that the “contractor will not be required to fly within 1 000 metres of current and on-going reported kinetic operations or areas that have reported activity within 12 hours prior to mission execution. Kinetic operations are defined as situations where friendly forces are actively engaged under hostile fire.” It also notified bidders that nearly 20 per cent of the flight missions will be flown at night and as such, will require the use of night-vision goggles to make navigation possible.

According to information from the Department of Defense, missile and radar systems manufacturer Raytheon has been contracted to build a sensor system to detect and destroy smuggling tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border. The $9.9 million contract covers “research and development work on Border Tunnel Activity Detection Systems.”

Raytheon will use a Seismic and Acoustic Vibration Imaging programme to help detect some of the 2 000 underground tunnels believed to be operational under the Egypt-Gaza border. The Defence Logistics Agency (DLA) has also awarded BAE Systems a contract for the sale of military radars and advanced radar components for the Egyptian Army.

In a move, which marks the major expansion of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. of Houston, Texas has been awarded a contract for base operation support services at Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti and Manda Bay in Kenya.

Contract number N62470-13-D-3008 was issued by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic late last month for the provision of “security operations, emergency management, fire and emergency services, air operations, ordnance, supply operations, laundry services, morale welfare and recreation, galley, housing (Bachelor Quarters), facility support (facilities like investment, janitorial services, grounds maintenance, pest control, refuse collection, and roads), electrical generation, waste water treatment, and water operations, base support vehicles equipment and environmental services.”

All the work is earmarked for completion by June 2017. Another contract dedicated to the expansion of Camp Lemonnier has been awarded to B L Harbert International LLC of Birmingham, Alaska, for the “construction of a forward operating site at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The site will be comprised of 11 buildings, site work and supporting facilities required to support current and emerging operational missions.

“The following buildings will be constructed on a site that is approximately 20 acres in size: aircraft hangar, air operations center, armory, joint operations center/tactical operation center/communication center, berthing/fitness/morale, welfare and recreation facility, logistics warehouse, maritime/riggers facility, training facility, engineering facility, vehicle maintenance shop, tactical support facility, and an aircraft parking apron.” According to the notice, work will be completed by August 2016.

Rudolph Atallah, a former counter-terrorism director for Africa at the US Defense Department said the expansion of military operations and the extension of Camp Lemonnier proves that the continent has become the new operations front for the Pentagon. “Africa is the front and centre now for the Pentagon, so that means Lemonnier is front and centre,” said Atallah, who is now the head of a US private security consulting company.