The Republic of Lebanon has agreed to buy six A-29 Super Tucano turboprop aircraft from Sierra Nevada (SNC) and Embraer Defense & Security.

The US State Department approved this $462m foreign military sale in June.

The contract also covers a complete training system for Lebanese Air Force pilots and mechanics.

Embraer Defense & Security president and CEO Jackson Schneider said: "The selection of the A-29 by the Lebanese Air Force is a great testament to the superiority of the Super Tucano and its ability to meet the challenges of the operating theater in the Middle East.

"The Super Tucano is the best and most capable aircraft in the market with a proven record of success with Air Forces around the world."

The A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft or Embraer EMB 314 is an enhanced version of the EMB-312 Tucano trainer aircraft, but can cruise at a faster speed and higher altitude.

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It will be able to perform an array of missions including close air support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Moreover, the aircraft is capable of carrying general-purpose bombs and guided air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. It is armed with two wing-mounted 12.7mm machine guns with a rate of fire of 1,100 rounds a minute.

"The Super Tucano is the best and most capable aircraft in the market with a proven record of success with Air Forces around the world."

SNC ISR business area business development vice-president Taco Gilbert said: "We are excited at the opportunity to provide Lebanon with these aircraft, which are proving to be an innovative and cost-effective solution for demanding military organisations around the world."

The purchase of new aircraft is part of a larger, more comprehensive package, including infrastructure improvements.

However, the complete package will be fulfilled by other parties not involved in the SNC / Embraer partnership, SNC stated.

The aircraft for Lebanon will be manufactured at Embraer’s Jacksonville, Florida, facility.

Image: A A-29 Super Tucano turboprop aircraft from the Ecuadorian Air Force. Photo: courtesy of Kfir2010.