Lebanon presents arms program for improvement of Air Force capabilities

The Air Force will be reorganized including the sale of old planes and the acquisition of fighter planes, helicopters and remote-controlled aircraft

A "Super Tucano" plane at an airbase in Lebanon. Photo: Lebanese Air Force/Daily Star Lebanon

The Lebanese government is selling old aircraft as part of a reorganization of the Lebanese Air Force "in order to improve its effectiveness for defense of the country". The commander of the Lebanese Air Force, Gen. Ziad Haikal, said that five Hawker Hunter fighters and three Sikorsky S-61 helicopters will be sold.  

The commander of the Air Force invited foreign companies to bid for the old aircraft, and three companies, Britain's Hawker Hunter Aviation and two American companies, have already shown interest. The aircraft are being repaired and upgraded for use as enemy planes in fighter pilot training. 

The Lebanese Air Force has announced an arms program to improve its capabilities. The Defense News website reported that the number of A-25 "Super Tucano" light attack planes will be doubled from six to 12 planes, and that MD-530 helicopters and Scan Eagle and remote-controlled aircraft will also be acquired. According to Haikal, the plan is for every squadron to have 12 planes of the same type.   

Sources in Beirut said that Lebanon is missing three main components for its defense: a radar system network, an air defense system and advanced fighters. The plan calls for acquisition of AT-802 planes, made by American company Air Tractor, which have combat capabilities.  

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