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Islamic Republic of Mauritania Air Group
(Groupement Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, GAIM)

The Mauritanian air force receives the curious denomination "Islamic Air Force of Mauritania". Since its creation in 1960, it has been formed exclusively by transport, liaison and training aircraft. In any case with light attack capabilities of secondary form. Mauritania was involved in the initial stages of the Sahara war and resorted to direct French military intervention given its limited military capabilities.

The Mauritanian Air Force has a strength of 500 airmen, including one-third of commando air riflemen responsible for the overall safety of aeronautical platforms. It includes a direction of air ( Nouakchott ), two air bases ( Nouakchott, Atar), two air detachments ( Nema, Zouerat ) and fifteen aircraft of seven types, including helicopters (Z9, AB205), Transport aircraft (DC3 Bassler, Y12), combat aircraft (SF260, Embraer EMB-312 Tucano) and liaison and reconnaissance aircraft (BN2 Defender, Cessna).

The mission of the Directorate of Air is to ensure the sovereignty of the national airspace, liaisons between military units, transportation of air deliveries and airborne operation of soldiers and equipment planned and ordered by the National staff. Meanwhile, the Air Force participates in the development of Mauritania through sea surveillance, dusting agriculture with anti-locust pesticides, medical evacuations and rescues. The Air Force has School recently created in Atar. Their main mission is to train pilots, mechanics and skilled crews. It is a center of excellence, capable of providing the Army competent crews.

The Army is perceived by some as the "spectrum" of violence, wars and destruction of lots. It represents, in their eyes, a burden too heavily on the economy of a country. Others, however, see it as the great bulwark that puts the nation safe from any form of threats that could endanger the internal peace and security. This can lead to a rich and varied debate, sometimes even exciting.

First known under the name of Garim GARIM (Groupement Aérien de la République Islamique de Mauritanie - Air Group of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania), the Air Branch (la Direction de l'Air - DIRAIR) provides, as required, so delicate and varied tasks in addition to its traditional missions military aviation. Maritime surveillance, locust control, seeding soil, disaster relief, medical evacuations ... are all exciting missions that are the lot in everyday life, while maintaining its tactical and strategic operational capabilities. It happens to operate in isolation, but more often, it provides support to other services or departments of State.

Because of the richness of fisheries, territorial waters, as an exclusive economic zone, are highly coveted. It is not uncommon for foreign ships (or even Mauritanian flag), experienced the most modern fishing techniques, operate illegally, looting resources and polluting waters. Even the fleet which benefits from fishing licenses is not necessarily subjected to the regulations. Some of its vessels develop dangerous and fraudulent systems that allow them to systematically loot popular maritime fauna in the international market.

Despite the importance of its resources, its ongoing commitment and commendable results, the Navy alone can not cope with this situation. To support and complement its role, the 3 rd dimension is involved both in the fight against the counting of the marine heritage, as against the safety risks of our ocean space, or in the fight against violation of territorial waters or illegal exploitation of the exclusive economic zone. To do this, the Air Force Command prepares regular flight programs to deter offenders or take them in the act. This requires the development of very laborious approach techniques, photography, transmission and coordination with the buildings of the Navy deployed in the areas question.

The risks associated with these air operations above the sea, often in adverse weather conditions and the constraints inherent in International Maritime Law, make the sometimes very tricky. But the crews through their dedication and expertise, are able to perform satisfactorily programs, as indicated by statistics DIRAIR. According to the Operations Department, more than two thousand flight hours were carried out during the past five years as part of the maritime surveillance programs. This allowed to board and punish hundreds of boats took the "red-handed" when fishing illegally in the coastline.

The DIRAIR is very active in the field of locust and bird against the devastating crops, such as millet eat. To preserve the course of breeders and slow degradation, soil inoculation campaigns by air and insecticide spraying is conducted in collaboration with the competent department of the Ministry of Rural Development and Environment. Thus in several regions (Adrar, Tagant, Trarza ...), Vegetation cover has regenerated through these actions. This also helps to halt or slow the advance of sand dunes. Also, the DIRAIR participates with other countries in the sub-regional framework, to locust control programs, the fight against bird devastating crops and pests in public health. With their economic and environmental impact, these actions help reduce the harmful effects of the rural exodus, restore and secure the farmers in their region and perpetuate agropastoral activities.

The social and humanitarian role of DIRAIR is not far behind. The search, rescue, medical evacuation and transport of goods to disaster areas, most often require the intervention of aviation, especially in very large areas of the country and some of its remotest corners where roads are almost non-existent. The interventions can save significant time to save lives, to respond effectively to humanitarian disasters or to restore critical situations, our air forces bring then always effective competition in several areas of economic and social development, they greatly contribute in the preservation of fisheries and agricultural resources in the protection of the balance of the environment, in direct assistance to the people.

This means that their scope of action is very broad and it is called to extend further to account for a good range of other challenges: specific aspects of maritime safety inherent threats and risks related to oil exploitation offshore, terrorism, piracy, dangerous smuggling, trafficking narcotics, illegal immigration ... the scale of the challenges that the efforts and resources of the DlRAlR must be at stake. This requires of course the development of an overall approach and strategy means adapted to new contexts.

At the end of the 1970s an effort was made to obtain Argentine FMA IA-58A "Pucará" counterinsurgency airplanes. But the operation was suppressed by economic problems. At least one "Pucará" was painted in desert camouflage and received the Mauritanian license plate 5T-MAB.

"Company F" had commercial relations with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania since 2005. At the Paris Air Show in 2007, Mauritanian officials gave F a mandate to acquire five ALPHA JET aircraft ( Armed aircraft meeting its defense needs) with the aim of organizing the anti-terrorist fight against AG-AH (AQMI) and training fighter pilots.

On July 29, 2007, company F filed an Application for prior approval for the export of five to Mauritania ALPHA JETs to the Interministerial Commission for the Study of Exports of War Material (CIEEMG). On December 3, 2007, the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) decided to keep its fleet of ALPHA JET. On May 26, 2008, at the request of the Mauritanian authorities, company F renewed, with the CIEEMG, its request for prior approval for the sale of ALPHA JET aircraft to Mauritania. On August 1 , 2008, CIEEMG refused prior approval.

Learning the withdrawal of service by the French Air Force from the Tucano 312F aircraft used for training pilots , in June 2008, B & Z undertook negotiations with EMBRAER , the aircraft manufacturer, Modification 'of this type of aircraft in order to equip them with suitable weapons for ground support and counter-insurgency missions.

On July 2, 2008, B & Z submitted a letter to the Defense Attaché at the Mauritanian Embassy in France mentioning "We have the honor to inform you that in the near future we will be able to propose to the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania Tucano 312F aircraft of the Air Force Air Force In this air force of your country, you will receive a reply to your request."

On July 7, 2008, B & Z filed with CIEEMG an application for prior approval for the supply of 4 to 6 TUCANO aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, That 's an extension of its potential for delivery to the customer. On July 8, 2008, B & Z submitted an application for the sale of 6 Tucanos 312 Fs, spare parts and tools, to the DGA / DI Assignment Office. On July 17, 2008, the DGA, which wanted to avoid French-French competition, organized a meeting between the representatives of B & Z and F companies. Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

By letter dated 20 October 2008, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania confirmed to F company its decision to acquire from four to six aircraft capable of carrying out surveillance and intervention missions 'and stated' In accordance with the various interviews defining our Please send a technical and financial offer including the following items (...) '.

On 4 November 2008, B & Z received a notification by telephone that the prior approval it had requested was granted to it by CIEEMG. The written notification was obtained only on 6 June 2012. On December 15, 2008, company F filed with the CIEEMG an application for prior approval for the supply of 4 to 6 TUCANO 372 aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The sources disagree on the number received from Reims Cesnna 337 "Skymaster". Yes there is consensus on the two models received. But while some sources speak of two pairs of each version, others speak of four of the armed variant "Milirole" and six of the other unarmed variant. It is significant that it is the only model that is assumed in service in the FAIM of which there are no photos available.

One of his latest acquisitions has been a Basler Turbo 67. Basler 's modernized version of the DC-3 / C-47 veteran with turboprop engines. The copy received by Mauritania is a former Douglas C-47A-10-DK with serial number of USAF 42-92712 and construction number 12543. It entered service for the first time in the Royal Canadian Air Force as Dakota IIIN 12543. After being reconverted by Basler he received the provisional US civilian registration N104BF and was sold to the Mauritanian air force in January of 2000. The 5T-MAH in the facilities of Basler.

Since its foundation FAIM has had other models of aircraft but already retired from service: The 5T-MAH in the facilities of Basler. Since its foundation FAIM has had other models of aircraft but already retired from service: The 5T-MAH in the facilities of Basler.

The Mauritanian government has also had VIP airplanes. These were a SNIAS Caravelle 6R (5T-MAL) that was in service between 1974 and 1979. A Gulfstream II (5T-UPR) that ran between 1985 and 1991. A McDonell Douglas DC-9 between 1994 and 1995. And currently a Boeing 727 (registration 5T-CLP) received in 2004 and modernized with winglets at the ends of the wings and new engines.

France began supplying Mauritania with ex-French Tucanos in 2010. Between 1993 and 2009, four ex French examples were refurbished before delivery to the Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie. Training of Mauritanian trainees on board "Tucano" trains is a step before Mauritania's acquisition of Brazilian type Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, Improved platform of the Tucano aircraft. It would be a highly effective device for attacking ground targets.

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Page last modified: 06-09-2021 12:14:59 ZULU