American supplies "Super Toukano": a step towards civil war?
According to TSAMTO, on May 28 a solemn ceremony of handing over the aircraft to the armed forces of Lebanon took place at the Hamat airbase.
Recall that the light turbo-prop A-29 “Super Tukano” attack aircraft, produced by Embraer, a Brazilian company, was designed as a training aircraft. However, it is also used as a patrol and combat aircraft supporting troops capable of delivering assault strikes.
As part of the modernization for these tasks, the car received the protection of the cockpit of Kevlar armor, two 12,7-mm machine guns, FN Herstal M3, five suspension nodes for installing 20-mm guns on the fuselage node, guided missiles, NUR units, bombs (including corrected ).
In addition to Brazil, the aircraft is used in the Air Force of Chile and Colombia. And the Colombians used it in counter-partisan operations. According to the assurances of Bogota, "Super Tukano" made sorties more than 18000 hours without suffering losses.
The Pentagon showed interest in these aircraft several years ago, intending to use the A-29 as an aircraft for flight training, reconnaissance and aviation support for troops, primarily in Afghanistan and other low-intensity conflicts. Aircraft are operated in conjunction with Sierra Nevada Corporation.
Last January, American media reported, citing sources at the Pentagon and the US Congress, about the intention to replace the latest and most expensive F-22 and F-35 aircraft with more economical and cheaper A-29. Note that the cost of the Super Tukano flight hour costs only five hundred US dollars, while for the F-22 it is over 35 000 $.
The rationale for this decision also indicated the successful use of the P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft as a light attack aircraft against the partisans of South Vietnam.
However, it can be recalled that after the Strela MANPADS appeared at the disposal of the Vietnamese patriots, the use of P-51, as well as Ganships АС-130, became problematic. Actually, even before that, the Americans had tried not to use turboprop vehicles in areas of enemy air defenses.
Those against whom the Americans intend to use cheap light attack aircraft, unlike the Colombian rebels, have at their disposal rather formidable air defense systems for lightweight screw attack aircraft, and have a decent experience of using them.
So, saving money is, of course, great, but the loss of even low-cost aircraft and, most importantly, American pilots, can have serious political consequences for the Pentagon. Recall that the death of eighteen Americans during an unsuccessful attempt to capture General Aidid in Mogadishu and the shots of the bodies of Delta fighters in the hands of jubilant crowds of Somalis forced Washington to curtail the military mission in the country of the Horn of Africa.
That is why, according to the American plans announced at the beginning of the year, more vulnerable light attack aircraft in the Middle East theater will be piloted not by American but by foreign pilots.
The head of the US Air Force, General David Goldfein, announced that A-29 will be sold to American allies from Latin America and Eastern Europe, and they will be consolidated into "international squadrons" staffed with pilots from these countries who will act in the interests of the American coalition in the Middle East.
Goldfein at the beginning of the year reported that preliminary (unofficial) negotiations with potential suppliers of “cannon (rather, aviation) meat” were held, and the American initiative was generally supported.
True, he made a reservation that in some cases the Allies would not buy back light attack aircraft, but simply put up their pilots to operate the machines that are on the balance sheet of the US Air Force.
Since then, no information about progress in the creation of "international squadrons" light attack aircraft did not appear.
Whether the Lebanese Air Force’s A-29 armament is part of this program cannot be accurately asserted, but the likelihood of this is quite high.
Especially when you consider that the Pentagon intends to equip the Lebanese A-29 Super Tukano with the AGM-114 Hellfire, UAB GBU-12 and GBU-58 Paveway-2, although this weapon was not included in the basic package provided for approved US Department of State supplies to Lebanon under the program "Foreign military sales."
It is also known that pilots and technical specialists of the Lebanese Air Force received training at the Moody base (Georgia).
Actually, it cannot be ruled out that the contract concluded by the US Air Force Command with Sierra Nevada Corporation and including, in addition to the supply of X-NUMX A-6 Super Tucano airplanes for the Lebanese Air Force, is also the transfer of spare parts and equipment maintenance paid for in full or in part Pentagon (its cost was 29 million dollars).
If the Americans succeed in such a way of “signing” the Lebanese Air Force to act as part of their coalition, this could have very sad consequences for the country. Since recently, the targets of air attacks by the United States and its allies are increasingly becoming not terrorists, but fighters of Shiite formations operating on the side of Damascus, including the Lebanese Hezbollah.
The participation of Lebanese pilots in such BSHU against their own citizens, even if on the territory of another country, is a direct path to a national split, confrontation, and the beginning of a new civil war.
There is no doubt that the Americans would be just happy to begin the destruction of the hated Hezbollah with the start of a fratricidal war in Lebanon.
It is also worth noting that in order to protect its sovereignty and security, Lebanon needs not so much light attack aircraft as modern air defense systems (including fighters) capable of stopping foreign intrusions into the country's airspace.
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