The Benin Armed Forces (FAB - Forces armées béninoises) constitutes the army, navy, air force, and national gendarmerie of Benin. For a number of years, the Belgian Armed Forces have had an active programme of co-operation with Benin, offering training and coaching, donating redundant military equipment and using the country for limited military exercises.[2]


Beninese soldiers training with Type 56s.
A Beninese soldier with a Type 56
Troops from Benin as part of the United Nations MONUSCO mission in the DR Congo, 2000

As of 2012, the Army has a strength of 4300.[1] It includes 1 armoured squadron, 3 infantry battalions, 1 commando/airborne battalion, 1 artillery battery, and 1 engineer battalion.[1]

Infantry weapons

Name Origin Type Variant Notes
Small arms
TT pistol[3] United States Semi-automatic pistol
MAT-49[3] France Submachine gun
AKM[3] Russia Assault rifle
AK-47[3] Russia Assault rifle AK-103, AK-12, RPK-74
Type 56[4] China Assault rifle
SKS[3] Soviet Union Semi-automatic rifle
MAS-36 rifle[3] France Semi-automatic rifle
MAS-49 rifle[3] France Semi-automatic rifle
AA-52[3] France general purpose
Degtyaryov[3] Soviet Union general purpose RP-46
RPD[3] Soviet Union general purpose
DShK[3] Soviet Union general purpose
M2 Browning[3] United States general purpose M2HB, M2HB-QCB
RPG-7 Soviet Union Rocket-propelled grenade

Heavy weapons

Name Origin Type In service Notes
Armored fighting vehicle
PT-76 Soviet Union Light tank 18[1]
M8 Greyhound United States Anti-armor vehicle 7[1]
Eland-90 South Africa Armored car 3[5] provided with French training[6][7]
Panhard VBL France Armored car 10[1]
BRDM-2 Soviet Union Armored car 14[1]
Casspir 2000 South Africa APC 10 on order[8]
M113 United States APC 18[9]
L118 Light Gun United Kingdom Howitzer 12[1]
M101 howitzer United States Howitzer 4[1]

Air Force

After achieving independence from France in 1960 the Benin Air Force was transport equipped with seven French-supplied Douglas C-47s, four MH.1521 Broussards and two Agusta-Bell 47Gs. Two F-27s entered service in 1978 for transport duties before being transferred to Air Benin. Also during the same era two AN-26s were acquired. In late 1985 two Dornier Do-28s entered service to replace the C-47s. A single DHC-6 Twin Otter was acquired in 1989.

the roundel of the Benin air force


Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Boeing 727 United States VIP 1[10]
Hawker Siddeley HS 748 United Kingdom transport 1[11]
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada utility transport 1[11]


As at 2012 the navy has a strength of approximately 200 personnel. It operates two ex-Chinese patrol boats, which are designated the Matelot Brice Kpomasse class.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k IISS (2012), p. 422
  2. ^ Mathurin C. Houngnikpo, Samuel Decalo, Historical Dictionary of Benin, 78.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jane's Infantry Weapons 2007
  4. ^ Photo Details. Marines.mil (16 June 2009). Retrieved on 2012-05-20.
  5. ^ DIO blindé au Bénin
  6. ^ "Senegal Instruction Operationelle Au Profit Des Forces Armees Beninoises". 
  7. ^ Republique du Benin Archived 3 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Benin purchases ten Casspir 2000 mine protected vehicles Archived 13 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. - Armyrecognition.com, 10 February 2013
  9. ^ "Trade Registers". Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  10. ^ "Benin Government B-727". xairforces.net. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018. 
Works consulted
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2012). The Military Balance 2012. London: IISS. ISSN 0459-7222. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.