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Military Capabilities

LAF highlights problems with Super Tucano base

09 November 2017

A lack of infrastructure at Hamat Air Base will limit the capabilities of the Lebanese Armed Forces’ (LAF’s) new A-29 Super Tucano strike aircraft, according to a presentation posted on the LAF website.

One of the two Super Tucanos that has arrived in Lebanon is seen at Hamat Air Base on 31 October, when they were officially handed over by the United States. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)One of the two Super Tucanos that has arrived in Lebanon is seen at Hamat Air Base on 31 October, when they were officially handed over by the United States. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

The presentation said there is an urgent need to build a parallel taxiway at the airbase so that missions do not have to be performed with additional reserve fuel in case the runway cannot be used for landing. The extra fuel reduces the time the aircraft can spend over targets.

Hamat has no navigation aids or lighting, the document said, raising questions as to whether the Super Tucanos could fly sorties at night or in low visibility.

There is also a road running across the runway that connects two local villages and represents a “huge safety compromise”.

The document revealed that the LAF hopes to procure another six Super Tucanos in addition to the six that are currently in delivery.

In terms of weapons, the document indicated that the Lebanese Super Tucanos are not set up to use AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and will not have the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), which turns standard air-to-surface rockets into guided weapons, until the first delivery in May 2018.

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