The Ministry of National Defense is auctioning off 8 military aircraft in order to purchase a firefighting aircraft for the army.
It has called for a public bid on May 11th to sell 3 Sikorsky helicopters and 5 Hawker Hunter aircraft including all available spare parts, noting that they are defective and missing some spare parts.
According to MTV, the auction will take place based on a decree issued by the Council of Ministers and the sale of the available spare parts of the 8 defective aircraft should suffice for buying a firefighting aircraft.
The timing of this sale will be integral as long as Lebanon purchases a new firefighting helicopter immediately for when the fall season rolls around, wildfires will threaten Lebanon’s greenery and residents once again.
In the fall of 2019, the Lebanese government was highly criticized for its failure to control forest fires that spread across the country. This is because the government left firefighting helicopters unmaintained since their purchase.
The catastrophic fires, which could have been extinguished sooner had it not been for government negligence, added to the antigovernmental tension that birthed the October 17 Revolution.
Lebanon’s economic collapse has left the Lebanese Army with major budget cuts. MTV cited retired Brigadier General George Nader that the army’s budget was reduced by 40% in food, 45% in fuel, and 90% in ammunition and armament.
Nader also said that the Lebanese Army has been reduced to accepting food rations from France to feed the soldiers. “Is this the morale you want for the members of this institution?” he asked.
“Where are we going? What do you intend to do?” he asked, addressing the political leaders holding the country’s fate in their idle hands. He revealed that the military institution has been forced to adopt “a significant austerity policy, on its own, in line with the economic situation.”
As Lebanon’s leaders continue to fail to agree on the Cabinet formation and division of ministries, financial suffering is weakening the country’s security.