16 April 2015
Al Dhafra United Arab Emirates Drone Base
Where the Drones Are
Mapping the launch pads for Obama's secret wars.
By Micah Zenko and Emma Welch
May 29, 2012
In January 2002, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) was deployed to Al-Dharfa
to support operations in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism. At the time,
there were only 300 American servicemembers on the base. According to a
diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, by September 2007 there were 1,300
Air Force personnel at Al-Dhafra. The 380th AEW also brought manned U-2 spy
planes and the unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawk to the base. In 2005, an anonymous
Air Force official stated, There is a major Global Hawk operating base
being built in the UAE. According to Aviation Week and Space Technology,
in June 2010 there were four Global Hawks at Al-Dhafra; by June 2011, there
were six (five Air Force and one Navy). More recently, the United States
has begun deploying F-22s, its advanced stealth fighter. According to Matthew
Aids book Intel Wars, Global Hawks operating out of Al-Dhafra fly
daily [signals intelligence] and imagery collection missions along Irans
borders with Iraq and Afghanistan and along Irans Persian Gulf
|17 September 2014
24°14'45.29" N 54°33'38.29" E
|30 July 2013. A drone and U2.
|24 March 2011. Another U2. Hangars enlarged.
|2 March 2010. Small hangars under repair or construction.
|14 April 2004.