The Lebanese Air Force (LAF) has received an additional three Bell UH-1H-II helicopters as a donation from the US.
These aircraft, which were handed over in a ceremony in late January, will augment LAF’s existing fleet and will be used for search and rescue, troop transport, firefighting and utility missions.
“We are privileged to support the LAF with additional Huey II aircraft, which will enhance its operational capability,” said Tim Evans, regional sales manager of Bell, the original equipment manufacturer. “This proven platform equips their squadron with the most capable utility helicopter available.”
The LAF has been flying the UH-1 series helicopters since the early 1990s in multiple roles. Most recently, its Huey IIs extinguished the fires caused by the port explosion in Beirut.
The three helicopters that were handed over in January are valued at over $32 million. In 2016, the US embassy in Lebanon disclosed the delivery of three Huey II helicopters after Lebanon requested to buy 18 airframes and related support in 2014. As the values of deals and quantities of items in foreign military sales that are approved by the US State Department are subject to change, it is unclear exactly how many Huey IIs have been delivered to Lebanon.
“The LAF is honored to add three more Huey IIs to our fleet,” said Commander BG Heykal, LAF. “We value this aircraft for its multi-mission capabilities, reliability and durability and appreciate the Bell team for their quality customer support and longtime partnership.”
The Bell UH-1 is single engine helicopter developed by Bell for the US Army in the 1950s. Over the years, Bell has built 16,000 of the helicopters for numerous military operators.