January 28, 2012:
The U.S. has agreed to provide Lebanon with several used Cessna Caravan 208B transport aircraft. This is part of an international effort to rearm the Lebanese armed forces, which is currently outgunned by Hezbollah (an Iranian supported radical Shia militia and terror group that controls most of southern Lebanon).
The U.S. has earlier supplied Afghanistan and Iraq with the 208B, which is used as a flight trainer, transport, and light attack aircraft. Iraq, for example, equips some of its 208Bs with a targeting turret and arms them with Hellfire missiles.
The 208B is a large, single engine, aircraft that can carry up to 14 passengers or 1.3 tons of cargo. It costs about half of what the more popular (in the U.S. armed forces) twin engine King Air does and is already popular as a passenger/cargo aircraft in remote parts of the planet. The Afghan air force is getting 26 of these "light transports" and Iraq has five.
The four ton 208B has a cruising speed of 317 kilometers an hour and can stay in the air for about six hours per sortie. The 208 has been in service since the mid-1980s and over 2,000 have been built. New ones cost about $2 million each.