Ambassador David Hale visited Beirut Airbase this morning to inspect America’s latest delivery of “Hellfire” missiles and artillery munitions to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). The shipment provides the LAF with 50 “Hellfire” air-to-ground missiles and 560 artillery rounds, including some precision munitions. This represents $8.6 million worth of U.S. security assistance to Lebanon and boosts the LAF’s ability to secure Lebanon’s borders against violent extremists.
The “Hellfire” air-to-ground missiles are used on Cessna Caravan aircraft previously delivered to the LAF by the United States and allow the LAF to strike confirmed insurgent positions without exposing themselves to return fire. The other artillery rounds include laser guided projectiles – the first munition of its kind in the LAF’s arsenal – which will provide the LAF with a precision-strike capability at significant stand-off ranges.
Today’s munitions delivery demonstrates America’s sustained commitment to ensure that the Lebanese Armed Forces has the support it needs to be the sole defender of Lebanese territory and its borders, and is answerable to the state and to the Lebanese people through the state. This is a long term commitment. Since 2004, America has provided over $1.3 billion dollars in security assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces, including both training and equipment.