FRENCH DEFENCE companies are to refurbish fighters and helicopters belonging to the Lebanese air force, say Middle East sources.

Agreement for the upgrade, was reached during a visit by French defence minister, Charles Millon to Beirut, in late February. Under the terms of the agreement, French companies - believed to include Sagem and Sextant Avionique - will refurbish ten Dassault Aviation Mirage 3s and some of the 30 or so Aerospatiale Puma, Alouette and Gazelle helicopters. The French companies decline to comment.

The fighters have been in storage in recent years and only a portion of the helicopters, have been kept in service condition. Lebanon also owns six Hawker Hunter fighters.

The deal also involves training Lebanese pilots and technicians.

Source: Flight International