Lebanese Navy to receive seven offshore patrol vessels

France will deliver four frigates and the U.S. will supply three Protector-class patrol boats. The Lebanese Navy currently only has seven operational patrol vessels, according to military officials 

A Protector-class vessel. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard / Petty Officer Corinne Zilnicki

The Lebanese Navy expects to receive seven offshore patrol vessels, four with help from France and three Protector-class vessels that are part of U.S. military aid.

Navy Commander Senior Capt. Haissam Dannaoui told the Defense News website that there is currently coordination with French shipbuilders to supply Lebanon with four frigates, "of 65- and 75-(meters) length each". According to Dannaoui, the French ships are not part of that country’s military assistance to Lebanon but they will be financed through a loan from France, which is expected to open a credit line of 400 million euros (about $488 million) to allow the Lebanese government to purchase French military equipment, according to the report. 

The website also noted that in early May, the U.S. Defense Department notified Lebanon of planned delivery in 2022 of the three Protector-class patrol boats. Overall, the State Department announced $120 million in fiscal 2021 for Lebanon from the foreign military financing program, up $15 million from the previous year. 

Lebanese military officials said that the country's Navy currently only has seven operational patrol vessels, and that the cost of operating and maintaining them is enormous. They added that the timing of the delivery of the new vessels will help secure Lebanese oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean basin, beyond the usual tasks of the Lebanese Maritime Customs Authority, prevent smuggling and illegal immigration, and provide defense against terrorist operations along the 150 kilometers of Lebanese coast and in the country's territorial waters.

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