Beirut has taken delivery of six MD Helicopters MD530Fs.
According the army’s Facebook page, the rotorcraft were handed over at Beirut Air Force Base.
The aircraft were flown to the Middle Eastern country aboard a Boeing 747-400F operated by National Air Cargo. Data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24 states that the aircraft involved was N702CA, a 27-year-old converted freighter that originally flew with Singapore Airlines.
The helicopters are part of an arms package organised by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) office at the US embassy in Lebanon.
While the aircraft in the delivery were MD530Fs, the original US embassy statement in 2017 said the rotorcraft would be MD530Gs. The package, valued at $120 million, was also to include Boeing Insitu ScanEagle unmanned air vehicles.
Cirium fleets data indicates that that the Lebanese air force operates 71 fixed- and rotary-winged assets, and lists the six MD530s as being on order for the air force.
Notable assets include 33 Bell UH-1 transport helicopters with an average age of 32.2 years. The Lebanese air force also operates six Embraer/Sierra Nevada A-29 Super Tucano light-attack turboprops that were part of another DSCA deal in 2015.
Funding appears to be a challenge for the Lebanese military. In July, Reuters reported that the army was selling rides on its Robinson R44s to help finance maintenance. It reportedly charged $150 for a 15-minute ride, with an officer quoted as saying that the activity was “essential” for funding sustainment.