US Donates Super Tucano Aircrafts to Lebanese Army

US Donates Super Tucano Aircrafts to Lebanese Army
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Published October 9th, 2017 - 13:24 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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The planes will travel to Lebanon from the U.S. by air (Shutterstock/File Photo)
The planes will travel to Lebanon from the U.S. by air (Shutterstock/File Photo)

 

  • The Lebanese Army will receive its first batch of U.S. donated aircrafts this week
  • The planes will travel from the U.S. to Lebanon by air
  • Army training for the new aircrafts began in March 2017 in the U.S.
  • The deal with the U.S also includes 2,000 “Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems”

 

The Lebanese Army is set to receive its first batch of U.S. donated Super Tucano aircraft this week, a local daily said Sunday.

Citing a senior military source, Al-Hayat newspaper said that in the coming week Lebanon would receive two of six Super Tucanos that the Army is set to obtain from United States’ support programs for the military. Lebanese pilots and support crew have been training in the U.S. for months.

The source told Al-Hayat that the planes will travel to Lebanon from the U.S. by air, and will have to stop en route to refuel.

It also added that “negotiations to strengthen the Army’s capabilities are in accordance with the plan prepared by the leadership.” It also noted that “Many countries have offered to provide assistance to the Army on several levels.”

“The meeting held Friday with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard and Britain’s Ambassador Hugo Shorter was excellent and promising,” the source said, adding that “military command presented the Army’s needs [in terms of] weapons, ammunition, equipment and expertise to the ambassadors.”

“[The request] received a positive response and willingness to approve it,” the source noted, reiterating that “Shorter assured the Army head Gen. Joseph Aoun that London had decided to increase its assistance to the army, stressing that his country is serious in enabling the Army to carry out its tasks, especially the preservation of borders.”

Although there has been no official confirmation, the paper said Gen. Aoun was set to undertake his delayed visit to Washington “in the last week of this month” to meet with officials overseeing the development of military grants. The Lebanese Army was unavailable for comment on the reported trip Sunday.

It was reported in April 2017 that Lebanese pilots in the U.S. had begun their first in-flight training on A-29 Super Tucanos.

 

 

The planes will be the latest additions to the military’s small air force.

Currently, the Army only operates a handful of armed fixed-wing planes – though those aircraft have seen heavy use.

“It was [the pilot’s] first flight in the aircraft so it was a great opportunity for him to get oriented in the A-29 and how it flies,” an American trainer at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, where the squadron is based, said in a statement provided by the U.S. military at the time.

Sources close to the Lebanese security forces confirmed that the training happened as part of a routine workshop that takes place between Lebanon and the U.S.

The current program aims to train 12 pilots and 20 maintenance workers to independently operate the aircraft. “These guys will be fully trained, operational combat pilots in the A-29 aircraft,” the American trainer said.

Training began March 2017 and once the program is complete, the Lebanese Army will receive six aircraft, each armed with a pair of .50-caliber machine guns.

The original deal struck with the United States also includes 2,000 “Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems” – laser-guided missiles that can be added to the A-29.

The Super Tucano was originally designed for close air support missions, light attack missions, and reconnaissance.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

Copyright © 2017, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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