The Lebanese Army has received its first allotment of two A-29 Super Tucano light combat aircraft from the United States.
The arrival of the aircraft boosts Lebanon’s ability to fight terrorists, defend its borders, conduct reconnaissance and support ground troops. The planes are equipped with machine guns and can be adapted to fire laser-guided missiles.
The two aircraft, flown by pilots trained in the U.S., are the first of six Super Tucanos promised in 2018. The aircraft has served successfully in tumultuous regions such as Afghanistan, whose hilly terrain and hot summers duplicate those of Lebanon.
The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) operate just a handful of fixed-wing aircraft, all of which suffer from heavy use.
The new aircraft will provide a “qualitative leap in improving the aerial capabilities of the LAF,” Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun said in October 2017.
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard praised the acquisition as a means to help build regional stability.
“The significant increase in LAF combat capability that this aircraft represents will ensure that the LAF will remain a national unifying force, a bulwark against extremism and terrorism,” she said.
Sources: Reuters, Al Hayat (Lebanon)