The United States handed over the first eight of 32 Bradley M2A2 infantry fighting vehicles to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) on 14 August, in a ceremony held at Beirut’s port.

Speaking during the ceremony, US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said the Bradleys represented an investment of more than USD100 million that will “provide the Lebanese Armed Forces with new capabilities to protect Lebanon, to protect its border, and to fight terrorists”. Richard said the remaining Bradleys would arrive in the coming months, and the LAF would receive intensive training on how to operate and maintain the vehicles.

“Our support is based on the principle that we share the same goals for stability and security in the country, and we share the view that the Lebanese Armed Forces need to maintain their rightful place as the sole provider of security and stability to the Lebanese people,” she said.

The LAF currently relies on M113 armoured personnel carriers armed with .50 calibre heavy machine guns and, in some cases, 23 mm anti-aircraft guns that are used in the direct-fire role. With their fully enclosed turrets, 25 mm cannons, and launchers for two TOW anti-tank missiles, the Bradleys represent a significant improvement in both protection and firepower.

Ten M992 artillery ammunition vehicles additionally arrived in Beirut on 14 August and will be delivered to the LAF’s 1st Artillery Regiment, a US source told¬†Jane’s¬†.