The Lebanese Air Force (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Lubnaniya) was formed in under the command of the late Lt. Colonel Emile Boustany who later became commander of the armed forces. Although Lebanon gained independence in 1943
Upon its formation Britain donated four Percival Prentices, Italy Savoia Marchetti SM.79L and SM79 which were utilized as transports. Subsequent years witnessed the addition of DH104 Dove twin-engine, sixteen NAA Harvards, six Harvard T2B's six AT-16 aircraft.
After 1960, LAF entered the jet age with CM170 Fouga , sixteen Dassault Mirage IIIEL/BL aircraft and for training of Lebanese pilots and personnel, Also Hawker Hunters were acquired to replace the older combat aircraft.
In 1973, twelve Agusta-Bell AB212, in the 1980s ten SA330 Puma and SA342L Gazelle helicopters entered service. In 1995, witnesed the arrival of sixteen former US Army Bell UH-1H helicopters, primarily used for troop transport, VIP duties and search and rescue (SAR) missions.
In 2000 Mirage III's were acquired by Pakistan and delivered to the Pakistan Air Force. In 2005 four newly Robinson R44 Raven II Helicopters were acquired for training
Surplus Gazelle helicopters donated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) early 2007. A year later the Russia Federation agreed to supply Mil Mi-24 'Hind heavy attack helicopters and training of their aircrew. In 2009, the first Cessna 208B Caravan surveillance aircraft was delivered, capable of carrying Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.
According to Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment - Eastern Mediterranean (dated: Nov 30, 2011)
The helicopter force is undoubtedly the most effective element of the Lebanese Air Force in ensuring internal security, with the UH-1H Iroquois primarily used for troop transport and VIP transport duties, as well as search and rescue (SAR) missions and day-time border patrol.
Commander of the Air Force: Brigadier General Ghassan Chahine
Air Force Personnel Strength: 1,000
- Combat: aircraft 5 (total) 5 (in service)
- Helicopters: 62 (total) 53 (in service)
Lebanese Air Force Website