Benin boosts fight against terrorism

In Benin, the Force Aerienne du Benin (Benin Air Force) has received two H125M and three AS332M1 Super Puma helicopters as part of international contributions aimed at aiding the country’s fight against terrorism.

Super Puma in Benin

Super Puma in Benin for National Day 2023. Picture: Twitter

The H125Ms were delivered from Girona in Spain in February, and were fitted with Trakka Systems TC-300 long-range HD electro-optical/infrared camera systems and TM-100 full-featured mission mapping and video management units following their delivery. They will augment two AS550 Fennec helicopters delivered in 2020, as well as the air force’s existing fleet which consists of a single Mi-8 helicopter, single DHC-6, BAe 748 and MA600 transports, and a handful of Humbert Tétras CSM ultralight aircraft.

 The Super Puma helicopters were described as a gift from France, and were handed over to the Benin government on July 6, 2023, in a ceremony attended by French defense minister Florence Parly and Benin’s minister of defense Fortunet Nomade, though they are all ex Royal Jordanian Air Force aircraft and were delivered as airfreight by Maximus Airlines An-124-100 directly from Amman to Benin on June 28, 2023. They seem to have been delivered in lieu of a previous plan to acquire Mi-171 helicopters from Russia.

The helicopters will equip the Escadrille d'Hélicoptères (EdH) at Cotonou/Cadjehoun air base (Aéroport International Cardinal Bernardin Gantin), and will provide a significant boost for the Force Aerienne du Benin and will be used to support the country’s counter-terrorism operations in the north of Benin (operation mirador), where attacks by terrorist groups have increased in recent years.

Jon Lake

Jon Lake

Jon is defence editor for both Arabian and African Aerospace magazines.