Richard Vows Continued Aid as U.S. Delivers 4 Aircraft to LAF
The United States has delivered four A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Lebanese Army at the Hamat Air Base, the U.S. embassy said on Wednesday.
“It is just great to be back at Hamat Air Base to mark another milestone in the remarkable development of the Lebanese Armed Forces as one of the most capable militaries in this region,” U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard said in a speech at the air base.
She added: “Finally, all six A-29 Super Tucanos are in Lebanon! Congratulations to the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Lebanese Air Force, and all those who worked on this program over the last several years to make it a success, and I include here the representatives with us today from the United States Air Force, who were with you through the entire process.”
The first two A-29 Super Tucanos were delivered last October.
Richard noted that the delivery of the six aircraft “doesn’t mean the program has ended.”
“The U.S. will continue to support the integration of the A29s into your capabilities over the coming years,” the ambassador noted, addressing the army.
She added that the Lebanese Army is recognized in the U.S. for “the quality of the officers and soldiers it sends” to U.S. training and education programs.
“Lebanese students routinely finish at the top of their classes, earning ‘honor graduate’ recognition. The recently returned A-29 pilots and maintainers upheld this real high LAF standard, and our military is very proud to serve with them,” Richard said.
She added: “The acquisition of the A-29 Super Tucano, a new aviation platform featuring advanced technology, will transform an already-strong air power capability that has been a key part of the Lebanese Army’s ability to defend this country.”
Noting that the A-29 provides the army with precision guided munitions and advanced precision strike capability, Richard described the military grant as “a game-changing acquisition that takes the LAF to the next level of combat capability.”
“With the A-29, the LAF will now be able to conduct joint combined arms maneuvers in all conditions, day and night, in a way that greatly reduces the risk of collateral damage and the danger to civilians,” she explained.
She reminded that the U.S. will be complementing the A-29 aircraft with six MD-530G light attack scout helicopters.
“As demonstrated in the LAF’s 'Dawn of the Hills' operation last August, the Lebanese people can trust the LAF to achieve national strategic objectives and defend the country,” Richard went on to say.
She described the delivery as “another reminder of the strong bond between the U.S. and Lebanon.”
“Over the last decade, the U.S. government has invested over $1.5 billion in training and equipment, and we have trained over 32,000 Lebanese troops. We will continue this partnership and support to the Government of Lebanon and to the Army,” Richard reassured.