After achieving independence in 1960 the Faidem's (Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie) was supplied equipment by France, such as C-47s and MH.1521 Broussards, which was later replaced by the Britten-Norman BN-2A Defender between 1976–78 and had operated as a transport and observation squadron in the Western Sahara War. During the same time two Cessna 337s and two DHC-5 Buffalo STOL transports were supplied in 1977-78 with one DHC-5 crashing almost immediately and the other being returned to De Havilland Canada in 1979. After the Polisario Front shot down one Defender and damaged two in 1978 the Mauritanian government ordered six IA-85 Pucaras for ground attack duties from Argentina; this order was later cancelled after a Mauritanian military coup.
More recent procurements have been from China in the form of the Harbin Y-12 II turboprop transports were delivered in September 1995, one crashed in April 1996. The Xian Y7-100C (a copy of the AN-24 transport) was delivered from October 1997, which crashed in May 1998.
he Mauritanian Islamic Air Force (Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie - FAIM) is a small air arm with only a modest combat capability. This consists of a few Aermacchi SF-260EU Warrior armed trainers fitted with two underwing pylons able to carry up to 300 kg (660 lb) of external stores and a handful of Tucanos received from France in 2010-11. These, too, are able to operate with light armament and can undertake a variety of roles, including low-level strike, forward air control, forward air support, armed reconnaissance and liaison.Weaknesses elsewhere include a very limited transport capability. Long distances between towns, desert terrain and the diffusion of airstrips across the country has led the small force to favour fixed-wing aircraft, although it has recently added a few light helicopters to the inventory. The two Y-12 light transports and the single Turbo-67 medium transport are now the workhorses of the FAIM.
In the absence of dedicated combat aircraft and with only modest combat experience, the ability of FAIM pilots cannot be assessed. Information is not available on military training exercises or the quality of training, although a July 2011 appeal by the air force's general staff for recruits, who are bi-lingual and educated to graduate level, suggests they recognize the need to improve the quality of their officers.