Lebanese Air Force Received Two A-29 Super Tucano Warplanes From U.S.

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Lebanese Air Force Received Two A-29 Super Tucano Warplanes From U.S.

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On October 31, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) presented in an official ceremony the first two A-29 Super Tucano warplanes that the Lebanese Air Force (LAF) had received from the US. The ceremony was attended by US ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard and General Joseph Aoun Commander of the LAF.

During the ceremony Gen. Aoun said the two A-29 warplanes will “make a qualitative leap in improving the aerial capabilities of the LAF”. Gen. Aoun also said that the delivery of these warplanes proves the commitment of the US to preserve Lebanon’s stability during crises.

“The Lebanese Armed Forces despite its modest military capabilities, has proven that it is an army of determination, professionalism and combat competence. Furthermore, we look forward to equipping the army with the appropriate weapons and equipment to enable it under any circumstance, to protect Lebanon’s borders and preserve its security and stability,” Gen Aoun added.

From its side, US ambassador Richard said during the ceremony that the A-29 combat capabilities will allow the LAF to remain a “national unifying force, a bulwark against extremism and terrorism”.

“Today is also another reminder of the strong bond between the U.S. and Lebanon.  Our military partnership is built upon shared national interests and focuses on three pillars: advancing capabilities through Training and Engagement; the transfer of high tech military equipment to build the Army’s capability; and the Defense Institution Building we are doing together to develop planning, logistical, and sustainment capabilities,” Richard said.

A Lebanese security official told Reuters Agency that the A-29s warplanes is a big upgrade for the LAF. The source added that the LAF will use the A-29 warplanes as a as armed observation aircraft.

The A-29 is easy to fly and maintain, and its considered one of the cheapest warplanes to operate. One hour of flight on it costs only $1,000. Due to this the US selected the warplane to arm the LAF and the Afghan Air Force (AAF).

The A-29s supplied to the LAF should be equipped with the AN/AAQ-22 Star SAFIRE II day\night observation and targeting electro-optical system. However, the system was not seen installed on the warplanes during the ceremony.

The LAF A-29s will be armed with Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rockets. Back on 2015 Saudi Arabia financed a $462 million deal to supply the LAF with these guided rockets. The LAF A-29s will be also armed with AGM-114 Hellfire II guided missiles that was previously supplied to the LAF by the US.

The LAF is set to receive another four A-29s from the US in the upcoming months. US ambassador Richard announced during the ceremony that second group of Lebanese pilots and maintainers are already on their way to the Moody airbase in the US to start training in the coming weeks.

Lebanese Air Force Received Two A-29 Super Tucano Warplanes From U.S.

Click to see the full-size image

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  • You can call me Al

    Watch out Lebanon, the only logical explanation for this is that they are bugged and being tracked or they are antagonising the likes of Israel or maybe Saudi Arabia.

    As a side issue, WTF are Lebanon buying military stuff from the US ?: stupid does, what stupid is.

  • Barba_Papa

    So are these are the first real fixed wing attack aircraft they got since the Hawker Hunter. They’re also COIN aircraft, not much need for that anymore currently after the recent Lebanese army/Hezbollah offensive against Al Qaida and ISIS. Some advanced SAM batteries and integrated radar network would be of more use, considering that Lebanon’s southern neighbor uses Lebanese air space as its own. Fat chance the US would give Lebanon the means to do anything against that.

    • JamilYamil

      The Tucano is a Brazilian built plane – not American. Americans use it as a trainer aircraft. The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano is a turboprop light attack aircraft designed for counter-insurgency, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments, as well as providing pilot training.

      The Super Tucano is highly maneuverable, has a low heat signature, and incorporates fourth-generation avionics and weapons systems to deliver precision-guided munitions.

      • Barba_Papa

        Wasn’t the Tucano originally conceived by Shorts in the UK?

        Anyway, it doesn’t matter where it comes from, its paid for and given by the Americans. And they probably opted for the Tucano as they have no comparable design of their own.

  • as

    Lol this thing is just a trainer at the least and recon at their best. There are a lot of MANPAD and heavy machine guns in the region to make this very vulnerable. This for their role in light attack craft and reconnaissance are better replaced with unmanned aerial vehicle even it’s from Iran.

  • Joe

    They might as well buy a few cheap drones from China that comes with better arms

  • Expo Marker

    No doubt there will be strings attached, but still better than the contract France offered to Lebanon.

  • NightTrain

    The US government and Saudi Arabia buying friends and allies for their stategy against Iran and a continuous geographic alliance that goes from Iran to Lebenon. The same strategy of buying friends and allies before the second gulf war failed and it will fail here also. If the US government was serious about fighting a real war on terror and killing our enemies they should have equipped the Iraqis and the Syrians with A-10s.