BEIRUT — The United States delivered a shipment of laser-guided rockets to the Lebanese Air Force on the Feb. 13 – part of a military aid package to Lebanon valued at $16 million.
The advanced precision kill weapon system, manufactured by BAE Systems, will add aerial fire capabilities to the Lebanese army. This also marks the first time these rockets will be used on the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft or similar turboprop platforms.
According to the Lebanese army official website, “this is the first batch of the rockets that will be delivered successively to the LAF.”
In a previous interview during the Manama Air Power Symposium last November, Commander of the Lebanese Air Force Brigadier General Ziad Haykal said the close air support jets give an additive value to the LAF capabilities not previously found in the national air force.
“The biggest challenge is the complementarity between the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and other air force operational arms,” Haykal said. “We are facing a new integration rule and operational paths, especially because these aircrafts will not operate alone but alongside other aircraft.”
Haykal stressed the importance of the U.S. military aid program to Lebanon, which is the framework used for delivery of the six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
“The U.S. is the primary supplier of military equipment to Lebanon,” he said. “The aid has made the difference in our battle against terrorists.”
In a Feb. 13 statement, the U.S. embassy in Lebanon said the delivery demonstrates the U.S. government’s firm and steady commitment of support to the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole, legitimate defender of Lebanon.
Since 2005, the United States has invested more than $2 billion in its partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Agnes Helou was a Middle East correspondent for Defense News. Her interests include missile defense, cybersecurity, the interoperability of weapons systems and strategic issues in the Middle East and Gulf region.