France to donate VAB armoured vehicles to Lebanese Army
France is to donate Vehicule de l'Avant Blinde (VAB) front-line armoured vehicles to support the Lebanese Army in its fight against terrorism.
The Lebanese Army will receive 15 VAB vehicles equipped with the HOT long-range anti-tank system, as well as ten dogs trained to detect explosives.
France will also deliver training for drivers, maintainers, operators, and NCOs, as well as light and medium-calibre ammunition and spare parts.
Former France President François Hollande has committed to donate military equipment, which is valued at around €30m, during his visit to Lebanon in April 2016.
French Embassy in Lebanon Chargé d'Affaires Arnaud Pescheux said: “Our bilateral dialogue identified the need for long-range direct fire capability, in particular to better deal with terrorist groups in the Ersal region, so we decided to provide the Lebanese Army with 15 missile-armed armoured vehicles.
“I am very pleased today to witness the delivery of the first part of this donation, with the delivery of two refurbished vehicles and three older vehicles to be used as sources for spare parts.”
The VAB four-wheeled armoured vehicles being donated to Lebanon were designated Mephisto by the French army, which retired them recently.
The vehicle offers a direct-fire capability against tanks or fortifications of up to 4,000m.
Fitted with a retractable ramp, the vehicle carries four tubes for Euromissile HOT wire-guided missiles and their aiming and guidance optics.
The Lebanese Army also received riot control equipment, explosive detectors, anti-explosive suits, special forensics and crime scene investigation resources, and first aid kits.
Image: The Lebanese Army will receive a total of 15 VAB vehicles equipped with the HOT long-range anti-tank system. Photo: Lebanese Army Command - Directorate of Orientation.