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Production is under way on the first Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos for the Lebanese Air Force, with delivery to start at the beginning of 2017.

In November, the US government agreed a $173 million foreign military sales contract that will see Embraer's US partner Sierra Nevada deliver six of the light-attack turboprops to the Lebanese air force by 2019.

The aircraft will be handed over to the US Air Force early next year, who then commission the fleet to Lebanon, says Geraldo Gomes, vice-president of business development for Embraer.

The Super Tucanos will support Lebanon’s fleet of intelligence and reconnaissance Cessna 208B Caravans, although Orbital ATK also received a contract last March to modify the Cessnas to carry Lockheed Martin Hellfire missiles.

Since the aircraft’s inception in the mid-1990’s, Embraer has sold the turboprop to more than 13 countries, and Gomes expect more customers to sign before the end of the year.

Embraer has completed 20 aircraft at its Jacksonville, Florida facility and US partner Sierra Nevada has delivered 16 to the USAF, which in January handed over an initial batch of four A-29s to the Afghan air force to replace its Mil Mi-35 helicopter gunships.