The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) will receive six MD 530G helicopters as part of a USD120 million arms package from the United States, the US embassy in Beirut announced on 13 December.
The 530G is the latest version in the MD 500 series and has already been ordered by Malaysia. It is much more of a dedicated attack helicopter than its predecessors as it comes with an L-3 Wescam electo-optical system that can designate targets for laser-guided munitions, it can carry more weapons, and has a Moog stores management system.
The United States will also supply the LAF with six more ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles along with communications equipment and computers to the amount of USD11 million. It was revealed in May 2015 that the LAF was already operating ScanEagles.
A third package worth USD16 million is intended enhance the LAF’s joint fire support and close air support through the delivery of communications and electronics equipment, night vision devices, and associated training.
“The announcement of these programmes reaffirms the US government’s commitment to the Lebanese-American partnership and support of the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as sole defender of Lebanon,” a statement from the US embassy in Beirut said.
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