Benin used to be part of French Western Sahara, and known as French Dahomey. It was granted independence in 1960. In 1975, the country's name was changed into the Peoples Republic of Benin because of the Marxist orientation of the ruler Kérékou. He led the government until the early nineties at which point the Marxist principles had waned. He lost the first elections in 1991 only to return to the presidency winning the next two elections. His rule ended in 2006 and the new president, Thomas Yayi Boni, took a different course with the country, trying to rid the government of corruption and stimulating economic growth.
Benin's armed forces are not that big and never have been. The force consisted of transport aircraft and helicopters, no jet fighters were ever operated. Most of the latest acquisitions came second hand from Belgium, with four A109BA and two BAe748 being added to the force. Besides these a AS350B and DHC-6 are operated as well. Of course, a VIP aircraft can not be missed, for that task a B727 is also on strength. Most peculiar aircraft, is a pair of lightweight LH-10 Grand Duc surveillance planes. This sigar shaped push-prop was displayed at the Salon Aeronautique in 2011 and 2013.