In efforts to help Lebanon secure its borders, the U.S. military has launched new training to help Lebanese air force members learn to fly the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
The program started in February at the Moody Air Force Base in southern Georgia, and conducted its first sortie training session on March 22.
“We’ve got one student with one flight under his belt but it’s a small victory for us,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Hill, the 81st FS commander. “The end state is that we’re going to have 12 trained Lebanese pilots. These guys will be fully-trained operational combat pilots in the A-29 aircraft.”
Hill said the ultimate goal is for Lebanese security personnel to fight ISIS on Lebanon’s eastern border.
“This is a great opportunity for us because we can partner with another nation and fight our common enemy,” Hill added. “Here in our squadron we call it teaching a man to fish.”
After completing the training, about 12 pilots and 20 military personnel will be able to use the A-29 aircraft for military operations in Lebanon, according to the U.S. Air Force.
Instructor pilots said the Lebanese air force members are doing ground training, learning the procedures, patterns and emergency protocol.
Lebanon purchased six Super Tucano aircrafts in late 2015 from the Nevada-based company, Sierra Nevada Corporation. The first shipment arrived in January, according to a security official speaking on the condition of anonymity.
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