Abstract Background The work described in this article forms part of a study to suppress a population of the malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis in Northern State, Sudan, with the Sterile Insect Technique. No data have previously been collected on the irradiation and transportation of anopheline mosquitoes in Africa, and the first series of attempts to do this in Sudan are reported here. In addition, experiments in a large field cage under near-natural conditions are described. Methods Mosquitoes were irradiated in Khartoum and transported as adults by air to the field site earmarked for future releases (400 km from the laboratory). The field cage was prepared for experiments by creating resting sites with favourable conditions. The mating and survival of (irradiated) laboratory males and field-collected males was studied in the field cage, and two small-scale competition experiments were performed. Results Minor problems were experienced with the irradiation of insects, mostly associated with the absence of a rearing facility in close proximity to the irradiation source. The small-scale transportation of adult mosquitoes to the release site resulted in minimal mortality ( Conclusion It is concluded that although conditions are challenging, there are no major obstacles associated with the small-scale irradiation and transportation of insects in the current setting. The field cage is suitable for experiments and studies to test the competitiveness of irradiated males can be pursued. The scaling up of procedures to accommodate much larger numbers of insects needed for a release is the next challenge and recommendations to further implementation of this genetic control strategy are presented.