A further three Bell UH-1H-II Huey IIs, valued at more than US$32m, have been donated to the Lebanese Air Force (LAF) by the US government.
They were handed over by US Ambassador Dorothy Shea during a ceremony in late January at Beirut Air Base, Lebanon. Fully painted in an overall two-tone green and grey camouflage colour scheme, they had yet to have LAF insignia and serials applied. The helicopters, delivered aboard an Antonov Airlines Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy-lift strategic transport, are a critical part of the LAF’s border and land security operations, plus search and rescue, troop transport, firefighting and utility missions.
Between 1995 and 2001, the LAF took delivery of at least 25 surplus US Army UH-1H Iroquois, although it is unconfirmed how many remain in service. Plans for acquisition of the upgraded Huey II were revealed on July 20, 2012, in a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification of a planned Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Lebanon of six of these helicopters.
On December 12, 2012 all six were handed over. The DSCA notified Congress of a further FMS deal covering 18 more for the LAF on September 17, 2014. A contract for three of these was awarded to Bell on March 15, 2016, but it is unclear when contracts were awarded for the others in this batch, although there were three more deliveries during March 2016.