On Monday, the Lebanese Armed Forces received 8 M2A2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) from the US, according to an official statement by the US embassy in Beirut.
The M2A2 is an upgraded version of the M2A1 Bradley IFV. It’s armed with a 25 mm M242 Chain Gun, a 7.62 mm coaxial M240C machine gun and a dual TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launcher.
The M2A2 model is also equipped with a 600 horsepower (447 kW) engine and an improved passive armor with the ability to mount explosive reactive armor. However the ERA boxes were removed from the ones delivered to the Lebanese Armed Forces.
“We are here at the Port of Beirut to mark the delivery of eight M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. These are the very first of a total shipment of 32 Bradleys that will be delivered in the coming months,” US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard saidduring the handover ceremony. “This contribution to the Lebanese Armed Forces represents an investment of over 100 million dollars. It will provide the Lebanese Armed Forces with new capabilities to protect Lebanon, to protect its borders, and to fight terrorists.”
According to Richard, Lebanese soldiers will be trained to operate and to maintain the vehicles by the US. Richard also reveled a list of weapons supplied to the Lebanese Armed Forces by the US in the last 12month. The list includes:
- 40 M198 howitzers
- 50 armored Humvees
- an Armed Cessna aircraft with hellfire missiles
- 55 mortar systems
- 50 Mark-19 automatic grenade launchers
- 1100 machine guns, including 800 50 caliber machine guns
- 4,000 M4 rifles
- Over half a million rounds of ammunition
- 320 night vision devices and thermal sights
- 360 secure communication radios
The US has increased its military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces since the outbreak of the Syrian war. Some believe that the US is trying to present the Lebanese Armed Forces as an alternative for Hezbollah. This becomes especially important for the US after the group’s intervention in Syria. Many Lebanese politicians believe that the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah compete each against other.