Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The United States has announced three new Department of Defense programs for Lebanon to help in its capability to conduct border security and counter-terrorism operations.
The programs, funded through the Department of Defense's "Building Partner Capacity" program, have a combined value of more than $120 million and were announced in Lebanon by Ambassador Elizabeth Richard and Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command. Richard and Votel visited the country and met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Minister of Defense Yaacoub el-Sarraf, and Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces Gen. Joseph Aoun.
The first program involves provision of a rotary-wing close air support capability of six new MD 530G light attack helicopters and associated equipment and training. The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon said the package is worth more than $94 million.
The second program gives Lebanon's armed forces additional command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities through the delivery of six new Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles and associated equipment and training. The program comes in at a value of more than $11 million.
The third program, at more than $16 million, gives the Lebanese military the ability of joint fire support and close air support through the delivery of communications equipment, night vision devices, and other equipment and training.
"The announcement of these programs reaffirms the U.S. Government's commitment to the Lebanese-American partnership and support of the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole defender of Lebanon," the Embassy said in a press release.