US Delivers Three New Huey II Helicopters To The Lebanese Air Force

The Lebanese Air Force (LAF) received three Bell UH-1H HUEY II helicopters as part of a US aid program. A ceremony was held at Beirut Air Base for the delivery of the donated helicopters. The ceremony was attended by the US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, the Deputy Chief of General Staff in charge of equipment, Brigadier General Ziad Haikal, representing the Lebanese commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces Joseph Aoun, and officials from the Lebanese army and the US Embassy in Beirut.

“Today, we are formally inaugurating these helicopters, valued at over $24 million U.S. dollars as the newest additions to the LAF’S air fleet,” said US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea in her speech at the ceremony. “These helicopters represent the enduring partnership between Lebanon and the United States. U.S. military teams have worked closely with the LAF to ensure that the capabilities of these aircraft will enhance the operational capacity of the LAF in providing security for all of Lebanon.  The Huey II’s versatility allows the LAF to conduct many important missions from MEDEVAC and search and rescue, to combat resupply, to transporting a platoon of fully equipped soldiers anywhere in the country in response to a crisis.”

The three helicopters, which will be used in search and rescue, troop transport, firefighting, and public services missions, were donated as part of a $47 million military aid package approved by US President Joe Biden’s administration on September 9 to improve the Lebanese army. Within the scope of this military aid package, the Lebanese army received 150 Humvees from the US last August. In addition, the US State Department recently approved an additional $210 million in foreign military funding for the LAF. These funds will help the LAF Army, Navy and Air Force increase their capabilities in the years to come.

According to Bell Textron, the LAF has been flying the UH-1 series helicopters in a variety of roles since the early 1990s. Most recently, its Huey IIs extinguished the fires caused by the port explosion in Beirut. The Huey II helicopter, an upgraded version of the Bell UH-1H multi-mission, medium-lift helicopter, is equipped with a two-blade, semi-rigid main rotor, and a two-blade tail rotor. It has an empty weight of 2,552kg and cargo hook capacity of 2.268kg, and can carry a useful load of 2,210kg. The Huey II is operated by one or two pilots and can accommodate up to 14 personnel. The helicopter has a maximum cruise speed of 196 km/h and a range of 455km and is powered by a Honeywell T53-L-703 turboshaft engine, which produces a take-off power of 1,342kW.