The Lebanese Army received on Tuesday two US A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, within the framework of the US military aid program to Lebanon, during a ceremony held at the “Hamat” airbase in the area of Batroun, north of the country.
Lebanese Army Commander General Joseph Aoun, US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard, US Central Command Air Force Commander General for Southwest Asia Jeffrey Harrigian and a number of Lebanese and American officers attended the ceremony.
The planes will be used as armed observation aircraft, a security source in Lebanon told Reuters, adding that such a move would represent a big upgrade for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
In a speech on the occasion, Aoun said the two new aircraft - which have advanced combat and surveillance capabilities - would “make a qualitative leap in improving the aerial capabilities of the LAF.”
The army commander expressed his gratitude for the “American support, which contributed to the activation of the army’s capabilities in the face of terrorism.”
Richard, for her part, said the significant increase in LAF combat capability would ensure that the Army would remain a national unifying force, “a bulwark against extremism and terrorism.”
“We have recently announced another $120 million in foreign military financing, which brings the total investment in the LAF to over $160 million just this year,” she added.
The Lebanese army commander held a meeting last week with the US Ambassador and British Ambassador Hugo Shorter, during which Lebanese officers presented the needs of the Lebanese army in weapons, ammunition and equipment as part of its counterterrorism efforts, within the framework of annual programs agreed upon since 2009.