10 August 2009

Lebanon's first Hawker Hunters were six former RAF F.6s that were paid for by the United States in 1958. A further set of ex-Belgian Air Force Hunters were then added to the force in 1965-1966. A final order was placed in the 1975 with the deliveries completed in 1977 during a lull in the civil war. Operated by the 2nd Squadron of the Lebanese Air Force, the aircraft saw combat in the 1982-1983 conflict with two shot down and one heavily damaged. By the early 1990s the remaining Hunters were stored as the Lebanese Air Force concentrated its operations with helicopters.

With a new administration in place in 2008, the Lebanese Air Force planned to strengthen itself to replace the various militias around the nation. Quite remarkably, the stored Hunters are being returned to service with reports indicating at least six are now operational. It appears that the Hunters will be operated pending delivery of 6 to 8 BAe Hawk jet trainers from the United Arab Emirates Air Force.

Source: The Hawker Hunter: A Comprehensive Guide (Modelers Datafile 16) by Paul Bradley. SAM Publications, 2009, p35-36.

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