Lebanese Air Force
Please keep coming back regularly to read about news related to the Lebanese Air Force.
According to reports from several Lebanese media, Lebanon will sign contracts in the next 2 months for the purchase of 6 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft and 18 light attack helicopters from the US, some even reporting that the 6 out of 18 helicopters will be of modern variant while the remaining 12 will be supplied from US Army stocks.
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Lebanon for Huey II rotary wing aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $180 million.
Lebanese Army commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji states that the army will buy warplanes as part of enhancing it's capabilities. The plan will be funded by a Saudi grant.
Early reports indicate that the Lebanese Air Force will be buying armed used Gazelle helicopters from France in adition to a number of EC725 Super Cougar heavy transport helicopters.
Al-Hayat daily reports that Lebanon is asking to buy 24 helicopters from France, 12 of which "heavy" helicopters without giving further details.
Lebanon and France will not be finalizing a deal on fighter jets at this stage. The Saudi Arabian grant will focus on modern utility and other multipurpose helicopters for the Lebanese Air Force and the possibility of upgrades of types of French origin currently in service.
According to media reports, France intends to sell modern military transport helicopters to Lebanon via Saudi Arabian funds.
According to the Brazilian site Poder Aereo, Lebanon is interested in acquiring between 10 to 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft from Embraer. However, funding may still be unclear and probably connected to the US LAS (Light Support Aircraft) program.
lebaneseairforce.info can reveal that the news reported earlier on Defense News about 10 UAE Hawks for Lebanon are unfounded at present.
Defense News quoting Riad Kahwaji saying that the UK has given the green light to the UAE for the transfer of 10 Hawk jet trainer/close air support aircraft to the Lebanese Air Force without giving any further details.
Lebanese Armed Forced Commander General Jean Kahwaji met with US Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, Sunny Petzinger. Discussions focused on the enhancement of the capabilities of the Lebanese Air Force.
The Lebanese Air Force has taken delivery of the 2nd C208B Combat Caravan from the US after a long delay.
Al Hayat daily reports that France will soon deliver 20 HOT air-to-surface anti-tank missiles to the Lebanese Army. Some Lebanese Air Force helicopters will be modified accordingly for the missiles to become operational.
According to some media reports, President Michel Suleiman may discuss the MiG-29 related issues with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin during his upcoming official visit to the Russian Federation on January 22. However, these reports appear to be mere speculations by the media.
The Lebanese Air Force took delivery of 6 UH-1H Huey II helicopters from the US.
Bell Helicopter Textron received a $33.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for UH-1H Huey II single-engined helicpters. The contract is to be fulfilled by December 2013.
US Congress has been notified of a reguest by the Lebanese Armed Forces (Lebanese Air Force) for the purchase of 6 Huey II utility helicopters with a contract worth $63 millions.
Alliant Techsystems (ATK) will deliver a second AC-208B Combat Caravan to the Lebanese Air Force in 2013, under a contract worth nearly $14.7 million awarded on January 12, 2012.
On October 25, 2010 Commander for the U.S. Air Forces, Central Command (CENTCOM) Lieutenant General Mike Hostage visited Lebanon as part of a visit to several countries in the region. In Lebanon, Lt. Gen. Hostage met with the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi and Chief of the LAF Air Force Brigadier General Ghassan Chahine.
The U.S. has committed to refurbishing and arming Lebanon’s UH-1 helicopter fleet and will install a state of the art UH-1 flight simulator.
For the first time for over 30 years, the Lebanese Air Force held and Open Day for the public at the Rayak AF base. Visitors were able to see historical and current aircraft which were on display on the apron.
The event was attended by army commander Brig. Gen. Jean Kahwaji.
The Lebanese Air Force will be holding an Open Day on Sunday October 23rd, 2011. The activity will include a tour at the facilities at Rayak air force base and screening of documentary subjects.
The United States delivered equipment to the Lebanese Armed Forces at the Hamat Airfield via C-130 aircraft, the first time an aircraft of this size and type has landed at Hamat Airfield. U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly and senior LAF and U.S. military officers were on hand to observe the delivery.
A Lebanese Air Force helicopter had to make an emergency landing at the outskirts of the northern town of Jdeidet el-Qaytaa in Akkar due to an electrical technical malfunction, with no injuries incurred in the process.
France has reiterated it's commitment to supply the Lebanese Air Force with 100 HOT guided anti-tank missiles to arm the LAF's existing SA-342 Gazelle helicopters.
A Lebanese Air Force Gazelle helicopter has made an emergency landing in Jubeil area. According to the official army statement, the Gazelle faced a malfunction and was damaged during the landing. Both pilots have escaped unharmed.
Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji met with Air Marshall Sir Stuart Peach of the RAF in his offices in Yarze. Discussions were aimed to further cooperation between the Lebanese and British militaries.
It is worth mentioning that the Lebanese Air Force currently operates British made Bulldog trainers and Hawker Hunter jets and still expresses interest in the BAe Hawk jet trainers.
A Lebanese Air Force Raven R44 helicopter (L-1502) has made an emergency landing in the Jal el-Dib area during a drill for the Independence Day parade.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri announces that Russia will supply Lebanon with six Mi-24 gunship helicopters as part of a package that includes tanks and artillery. The Prime Minister's statement came during his official visit to Moscow.
According to the London based Al-Hayat daily, the UK has given approval for supplying the Lebanese Air Force with BAe Hawk jets during Defense Minister Elias el-Murr's official visit to the UK. However, the report does not give any further details thus remains to be verified officially by either party.
Commander for the U.S. Air Forces, Central Command (CENTCOM) Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage visited Lebanon on Monday and Tuesday meeting with Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Jean Qahwagi.
Hostage also visited his counterparts in the Lebanese Air Force, including Commander in Chief of the LAF Air Force Brig. Gen. Ghassan Shahine.
The Lebanese Air Force has taken delivery of additional 3 ex-UAE IAR-330 Puma transport helicopters bringing up the total in the inventory to 7 out of the promised 10.
During the 65th annual Lebanese Army Day ceremony, the Lebanese Air Force performed a symbolic fly over displaying most of the aircraft types currently in service as follows: 3 Hawker Hunters, 1 Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, 4 UH-1H Hueys, 4 SA-342 Gazelles, 4 R-44 Ravens, 2 SA/IAR-330 Pumas and 2 Sikorsky S-61s.
General Ghassan Chahine has been appointed the new Commander of the Lebanese Air Force, succeeding General Samir Maalouly.
The Lebanese Air Force is putting efforts to acquire 3 Aermacchi MB-339 jets to fill an immediate gap of trainer aircraft.
The Lebanese Air Force has successfully put the long stored Scottish Aviation Bulldog trainers back into active service, after almost 2 years of efforts.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr has hinted that France may be providing the Lebanese Air Force with additional SA-341/342 Gazelle attack helicopters. The number of the helicopters is believed to be between 6 to 10 of the type.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr has reached an agreement with the French side to equip the existing Gazelle helicopters of the Lebanese Air Force with guided HOT missiles. It is note mentioning that many of the Gazelle helicopters owned by the LAF need major overhauls and may be shipped to France for the purpose.
After meeting with the head of the Russian arms trade agency Mikhail Dimitriev, Lebanon's Defense Minister Elias el-Murr anounced a date has been set for the sending and training of Lebanese pilots in Russia. Russia has promised to supply the Lebanese Air Force with a number of Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters and according to DM el-Murr, deliveries should start during this year.
It is being reported that Russian officials will be visiting Lebanon early July prior to the delivery of the first Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters to the Lebanese Air Force. The unofficial reports indicate that the first of the Russian helicopters are scheduled for delivery for July 13th, 2010.
Al Markazia news agency reports that the US has agreed to supply the Lebanese Air Force with armed helicopters for the first time. No type of helicopters are mentioned in the report.
After meeting French Defense Minister Herve Morin, DM Elias el-Murr anounced that France will be givng assistance to the Lebanese army and specially the air force, by equiping helicopters in the air force's inverntory.
Fresh and exclusive photos of the newly delivered IAR-330 Puma helicopters are added here.
The Lebanese Air Force took delivery of the first batch of 4 IAR-330 Puma utility helicopters donated by the UAE. The remaining 6 out of 10 Pumas are expected the be delivered in the following 2 months.
The Lebanese Air Force will take delivery of the long promised IAR-330 Puma helicopters from the UAE this week.
A French Army delegation headed by Chief of Staff of the French military Admiral Édouard Guillaud informed Defense Minister Elias al-Murr during a meeting in Rabieh on Thursday, that his country will provide Lebanon with free Euromissile HOT anti-tank missiles, the National News Agency (NNA) reported. The HOT missiles will arm the Gazelle attack helicopters owned by the Lebanese Air Force.
Russia has accepted a formal request by Lebanon to replace the potential donation of 10 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters with an unspecified number of Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr: The acquisition of large numbers of aircraft by the air force may be a burden as this will require additional funds for the purchase of spare parts, maintenance and flying hours.
The US is offering the Lebanese Air Force 6 to 10 Beechcraft AT-6B or Brazilian made Embraer Super Tucano fixed wing propeller light ground attack aircraft. According to the plan, the US will start the deliveries of the aircraft in 2013, and to be completed in 2015.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr: The Military Cooperation agreement with Russia is ready to be signed by the end of February which will include the promised MiG-29s for the air force.
A Russian military delegation will visit Lebanon during February which will discuss the signing of a military cooperation protocol between the two countries, which will include and regulate arms procurement. The MiG-29 deal for the Lebanese Air Force will be part of this wider document.
While making comments on the ongoing search and rescue missions being carried out for the Ethipian Air disaster, Defense Minister Elias el-Murr is quoted as saying that the 2010 will be "the year of the air force" for the Lebanese Army.
The Lebanese Air Force is expected to take delivery of the first 4 of the 10 IAR Puma helicopters donated by the UAE in February. The deliveries of the rest will be completed by mid-2010.
It is currently being rumored that the US may offer a number of second hand Belgian Air Force F-16 fighters to the Lebanese Air Force to counter the present Russian offer for MiG-29 jets.
The team of Russian experts tasked with inspecting and assessing the Lebanese Air Force bases, has concluded that both Kleyate and Rayak aiports are adequate in accommodating MiG-29 fighters. The team has filed a report with it's conclusions to the Lebanese military authorities which includes recommendations for some improvements in both of these airports.
Some reports indicate that if the deal is finalized between Lebanon and Russia, Kleyate will become home of the LAF MiG-29 Fulcrums.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr anounced that Lebanon will have a respectable air force in 2010 which will make both the army and the people very proud of. The minister added that there are no technical issues behind the MiG-29 deal with Russia expressing his belief that the Kleyate air base in the north can accomodate these fighters without any major overhaul.
The team of Russian experts has examined and inspected the Kleyat airport in the north this morning. The team will draw assessments before the deal for 10 MiG-29 fighters for the Lebanese Air Force can be finalized.
During a speach in Dubai, Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji stressed out the importance of warplanes to the Lebanese army, pointing out that they can strengthen it's fighting capabilities.
The MiG-29 deal for the Lebanese Air Force has gained fresh impetus in the press in the past few days with increasing reports suggesting that the first of the Russian made fighters could be delivered to Lebanon by the end of 2010.
The team of Russian specialists has arrived in Lebanon and has already proceeded with the examination of the Lebanese Air Force bases this morning. The team is expected to spend several days in Lebanon.
During his visit to the UAE, Defense Minister Elias el-Murr thanked the UAE for it's assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces and for the donation of 10 Puma helicopters which are expected to be delivered to the Lebanese Air Force between the months of January and February.
Al Markazia news agency reports that a team of Russian military experts is to visit Lebanon in the coming days to assess the Lebanese Air Force bases in Beirut, Kleyate and Rayak airports. The visit comes as a preparation for finalizing a deal between Lebanon and Russia for 10 MiG-29 fighters which was first anounced by both parties in December 2008.
The Lebanese Air Force has rejected an offer made by the US earlier this year for around 10 OV-10 Bronco aircraft, according to media reports. The same sources indicate that the interest has been shifted to the EMB-314 Super Tucano attack aircraft, which is made by the Brazilian firm Embraer.
According to some media reports, the Lebanese Air Force intends to establish an air force base at the defunct air strip in Hamat, Batroun. The same reports also mention that the new base may become home to the soon to be delivered Puma helicopters from the UAE.
The deal for 10 Mikoyan MiG-29 multi-role fighters for the Lebanese Air Force has been put on hold indefinitely, the reasons of which remaining unknown at present.
It has now been verified that the 10 OV-10 Broncos currently on offer by the US will be unarmed and will lack any weapons aiming devices and will have reconnaisance and surveillance roles. It is still unclear if these specifications fully meet the present needs of the Lebanese Air Force.
According to an-Nahar daily, a team of Russian military experts are expected in Beirut next week to carry out full assessment of the Lebanese Air Force facilities at Rayak and Kleyat bases prior to the delivery of MiG-29 fighters to Lebanon.
With the current and future additions of new types of aircraft to the Lebanese Air Force, History Page 7 has been added to the current website with the hope of more pages to come in the near future.
According to fresh media reports, during his recent visit to Lebanon, General David Petraeus has expressed the US willingness to provide the Lebanese Air Force with 11 OV-10 Bronco light attack propeller aircraft for a total value of around 13 million US dollars. According to the same report, the US has conveyed to the UAE it's approval for the transfer of 10 BAe Hawk T.63 trainer/attack jets to the Lebanese Air Force.
Read more here (Arabic).
With the help of French experts, the Lebanese Air Force will put a few of the existing Fouga Magister jet trainers back into active service. These aircraft will serve as intermediate jet trainers and will serve until a suitable replacement could be acquired.
Lebanon has taken delivery of it's second Sikorsky S-61N firefighting helicopter. The final and third helicopter of the same type will be delivered in a fortnight.
Army commander General Jean Kahwaji will soon be heading to Doha, Qatar for talks with local officials. He is expected to discuss Qatari aid for the air force, including financing a deal with Eurocopter to do repair and provide spare parts to the exisiting Gazelle and Puma helicopters.
Lebanon recieved the first of 3 Sikorsky S-61N firefighting helicopters before midnight on May 31, 2009. Two more are expected to be delivered during June 2009.
The Lebanese Air Force took delivery of its first Cessna 208 Caravan at the Beirut Air Force Base. The aircraft, which is a part of US assistance program to the Lebanese Armed Forces, will be used for reconnaisence and precision attack missions.
Lebanon will soon take delivery of 3 Sikorsky S-61N helicopters based in Scotland (UK). These helicopters which will be based at the Beirut AFB and will be operated by the Lebanese Air Force, will exclusively be used for firefighting missions.
As reported exlusively here first on 04.01.2009, the US has confirmed the delivery of the first Cessna 208 Caravan armed with hellfire missiles to the Lebanese Air Force by the end of April 2009.
A high ranking delegation headed by Lebanese Air Force commander General Samir Maalouli, is currently in an official visit to the US. It is noteworthy that the US had promised to deliver a number of armed Cessna 208 Caravans to the Lebanese Air Force.
An-Nahar daily reports that the first 2 MiG-29s out of the 10 ordered for the Lebanese Air Force, will be delivered on Independence day. The daily refers the news to sources close to the Russian president without giving further details.
According to al-Markazia news agency, the Lebanese Air Force is seeking a number of BAe Hawk jet trainers, primarily from the UAE. According to the same source, Saudi Arabia may also be able to provide the Hawk jets from its own inventory.
After a request from the Lebanese Army command, www.lebaneseairforce.info website will be closed before Monday the 16th of February 2009.
The UAE donated SA-330/IAR-330 Puma helicopters are expected to be shipped and delivered to the Lebanese Air Force in the following few weeks.
The UAE will be donating 10 IAR Puma helicopters to the Lebanese Air Force. These will be delivered shortly and will be ready for active service entry.
The Diyar daily reports that Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is scheduled to visit Beirut before the end of the month, to finalize the primary agreement reached in Decemebr 2008 for MiG-29 fighters deal with Lebanon.
For the first time since August 1983, two Hawker Hunter jets of the Lebanese Air Force land at the Beirut AFB.
After meeting his Lebanese counterpart Elias el-Murr, visiting Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa anounces that Italy will provide the Lebanese army with aircraft spare parts. It is worth mentioning that the only Italian type in the Lebanese Air Force inventory are a number of Agusta-Bell 212 helicopters stored since the mid-90s.
There are renewed and fresh efforts between the UAE and Lebanon for the acquisition of a number of advanced jet trainers. Attempts made earlier in 2008 for several BAe Hawk trainers from the UAE have failed for several non-convincing reasons.
The US is promising to deliver a single Cessna 208 Caravan, armed with Hellfire missiles to the Lebanese Air Force in 2009 with further 2 of the same type planned to follow in 2010.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr: Pilots from the helicopter force of the Lebanese Air Force will be transferred to fixed wing jet training, specifically to train on the MiG-29 which is expected to be delivered within 8 months.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr: The Lebanese Air Force will be equipped with Russian made helicopters as part of fleet modernization and standardization.
Defense Minister Elias el-Murr anounces from Moscow that Russia has agreed to deliver 10 MiG-29 multi-role fighter jets to the Lebanese Air Force.
The US will be offering the Lebanese Air Force the Cessna 208 propeller aircraft armed with Hellfire missiles and fitted with reconaissance cameras.
The Kuwait based Alseyassah quoting anonynous sources, reports Russias willingness to provide Lebanon with attack helicopters and MiG-29 jet fighters.
Full article in Arabic can be found here.
New, fresh and exclusive photos of the Lebanese AF Hawker Hunter jets now added here.
For the first time since the early 90s, 2 Hawker Hunter jets of the Lebanese Air Force take part in the Independence Day military parade making 3 passes over Martyr Square. The air force also flies 8 UH-1H, 3 Raven II and 3 Gazelle helicopters during the parade in a special Cedar formation.
Fresh photos of the Hawker Hunter jets (November 20, 2008) added on History Page 3.
Lebanese Air Force Hawker Hunter jets make low fly passes over the capital Beirut and the southern coastline to the city of Sidon.
For the first time since 1994, a Lebanese Air Force Hawker Hunter jet has flown on a routine training mission from the Rayak base, making the type officially active again and restoring the fixed wing capability of the air force.
In a televised interview, interior minister Ziad Baroud confirmed reports concerning the near purchase of 2 firefighting helicopters which will be operated by the Lebanese Air Force. Type and country of origin of the helicopters were not mentioned.
Lebanese and US officials have reached an agreement to supply the Lebanese Air Force with AH-1 Cobra gunship helicopters. A US military delegation is expected to visit Beirut soon to finalize the deal.
According to initial reports, the helicopters will fly to Lebanon via Jordan.
During his visit to the US, President Suleiman will be seeking a deal for helicopter gunships, possibly AH-1 Cobras or a similar type, and push for approval from Washington for a deal for a number of US made jet fighters from a second party.
According to the local media, the US is expressing willingness in supplying the air force with a number of AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.
It is worth mentioning that, the Lebanese Air Force first showed interest in the AH-1 helicopter in 1983 and later in early 2006.
A Lebanese Air Force helicopter has made an emergency landing after coming under fire from an unknown ground source over Tilal Sijud in Nabatieh. Lieutenant pilot Samer Hanna has been reportedly killed in the incident and 3 others in the helicopter have been wounded..
A decision has been made to refurbish a number of existing Agusta Bell 212 utility helicopters. The air force hopes that up to 5 of the type can be put into service once again.
The deal also includes the repair of a number of grounded Bell UH-1H utility helicopters for the past 2 or 3 years.
For the first time since 1993, the Lebanese Air Force will start recruiting and training pilots for fixed wing aircraft. Because of lack of local expertees and equipment, the cadets who will be devided into small groups, will continue their basic and advanced trainings in the UAE, Egypt and Jordan and will form the core of the fighter pilots of the future. Other friendly Arab states may later contribute to the program.
The Lebanese Air Force will soon be recomissioning the 3 surviving Scottish Aviation Bulldogs basic trainers into active service.
Specialists from IAR will soon be conducting checks and feasibility studies on existing 2 or 3 Lebanese Air Force Puma helicopters for the purpose of overhauling these helicopters back into active service.
The acquisition of Hawk trainer jets from the UAE has been dropped by the air force after studies that were carried out in the past few months. Other trainer jets are currently beeing considered which meet the air force's future plans better.
As-Safir daily reports that Lebanon will soon purchase 2 Kamov Ka-32 Russian made helicopters. The interior ministry plans to raise funds to cover the cost of the firefighting helicopters which have proved their worth in the past few days in their operations in Lebanon.
Link to story (Arabic)
A Kamov Ka-32A dual rotor helicopter has arrived at the Beirut Air Force Base on lease, which will be used for firefighting missions alongside Lebanese Air Force UH-1H Hueys.
The Kamov Ka-32 en route to Kartaba on August 4, 2008
Photo copyright by Vatche Mitilian
Majority leader MP Saad Hariri has offered the cost of leasing 2 firefighting helicopters from Cyprus for a 3 months period to the Higher Relief Council.
An Agusta Westland 139 helicopter was gifted by Qatar to Lebanon which will serve as the Presidential helicopter. The VIP configured Agusta 139 will be operated by the Lebanese Air Force.
Al Shiraah weekly reports of talks between Lebanese and US military officials for possible US made fighters for the air force. The report could not be independently verified.
A Lebanese Air Force Gazelle helicopter has made a forced landing near Taybe (Baalbek) in the Bekaa Valley injuring two of its pilots. The helicopter, which was on a routine training mission, has been burnt and written off. Injuries of the pilots are reportedly non life threatening and the accident has been quoted to technical difficulties.
Al Manar TV: For the first time since the May 17 agreement in 1983, the US is willing to provide the Lebanese Air Force with attack helicopters. So far, the US has only supplied unarmed utility helicopters to the air force.
The Hawker Hunter is expected to fly again very soon as the Martin Baker ejection seat cartridges have been made available.
The UAE has agreed to donate a number of Hawk jets to the Lebanese Air Force.
During a surprise visit to Beirut, U.S. Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Eric Edelman told reporters that the US will supply the Lebanese Air Force a number of utility helicopters. No mention was made about the number and type of the helicopters.