A previously unknown U.S. drone base has been spotted in northern Jordan using satellite imagery, the War is Boring website has reported. If true, the secret base marks the second such base in Jordan, where U.S.-built MQ-9 Reaper drones are being used to monitor and strike targets in both Syria and Iraq.
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War is Boring, run by respected American military correspondant David Axe, reported that the base was erected at the end of 2014, when U.S. forces began their attacks on ISIS in Syria. New structures were spotted in 2015 satellite snapshots that already showed U.S. drones at the site. By 2016 the site reportedly extended to an area able to house up to three combat air patrols of three to four aircraft each. The lack of satellite communication equipment suggests that the base is used solely as a launch and recovery site for the drones, War is Boring said.
The Jordanian H4 base, of which the secret U.S. base is a part, is also home to a range of Royal Jordanian Airforce warplanes that, as well as being used in the observation of the Jordanian-Syria border, also possess attack capabilities.
The report notes that the 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act provided up to $1.275 billion in bilateral economic and military aid for Jordan and stated that funds may be used in sustaining security along Jordan’s borders. As such, it is likely that the U.S. drone site would be afforded such treatment.
The U.S. and its close ally Jordan are two key players in the international anti-ISIS coalition that is targeting the group in Syria and Iraq.