DONAS Undergoing Critical Phase of Review

Pierre Kfoury*

The Tri party DONAS contract between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, France and Lebanon to arm and equip the Lebanese Armed forces with a Saudi Don worth of three Billion U.S dollars is undergoing a critical phase of review.

Lebanese Official told SDArabia that this phase of a review is considered part of a normal administrative process, while he refused to comment on the proper reason behind this setback in the contract progress, he confirmed that Lebanese Authority is collaborating with relevant parties to resolve this issue. He also added that more valid info should be revealed beginning of next month.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia already versed a sum of 600 million US dollar into ODAS’ account equal to 20% of the total contract value. Knowing that none of the French companies has been legally contracted to initiate the delivery process, thus most likely and in the worst case scenario the 600 MIL US$ would be the maximum value to be used to arm and equip LAF 

DONAS has gone through a lot of major milestones, it began with the announcement of the Lebanese president, Michel Sleiman on the 29th December 2013, about an historical contract between France, Lebanon and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This contract is a don from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Lebanon and it’s goal is to allow to the Lebanese Army to be equipped with French materials. The 20th April 2015, and with the presence of the French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian and the Lebanese defence minister, Samir Mokbel, the first equipment were delivered to Beirut.

With the recent events in the region, Lebanon faces difficulties. Nowadays the Lebanese Army is on the battlefront in the fight against armed terrorist groups. But it’s known that materials and equipment of the Lebanese Army is out-dated and inefficient in the fight against terrorism. That’s why the deceased Saudi King Abdallah, decided a contract of $3 billion between its country, Lebanon and France, charged to equip and train the Lebanese Army according to its need. The code name of the contract is DONAS.

The 20th April 2014, the Lebanese Army Force concluded its shopping list and the 4th November 2014, the contract was signed between Edouard Guillaud, Chief Executive of ODAS and Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Finance minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The deal is supervised by ODAS, which has selected twenty French companies specialised in defence, security, and communication for a total of 31 contracts.

The Saudi donation consists of $2,1 billion, dedicated to new equipment acquisition, and of $0,9 billion focused on maintenance.

DONAS facts and figures

 

Figures

 The shopping list is divided as following: Lebanese Army Land Force (45%), Lebanese Air Force (30%), Lebanese Navy (20%) and the training (5%).

 

Lebanese Army Land Force

According to the contract, the Lebanese Army will receive some 48 MDA Milan start-range anti tank missiles.

In addition, 250 armored vehicles have to be delivered to Lebanon. Among these 250 vehicles we can quote:

•             VAB mark III armored vehicles (100 max) with turret by Nexter,

•             VBL light armored vehicles (Renault Truck Defense),

•             Sherpa light MRAPs, with a system of IED’s detection (Renault Truck Defense),

•             VBC-90 armored cars armed with a 90 mm canon (Renault Truck Defense),

•             TRM2000 (Renault Truck Defense),

•             24Caesar SP guns (Nexter System).

Lebanese Air Force

Concerning the Lebanese Air Force, the deal mentions:

•             6 armored Airbus HC cougar AS 532 battlefield helicopters

•             7 Gazelle with Hot missiles

•             7 Puma EC 725

•             Drone SDTI by Sagem

•             Drone DVF 2000 ER by Survey Copter

It seems that MBDA Mistral very short-range air-defence missiles have been negotiated.

Actually in the final list, 7 Cougar AS 532 armed, an improved version of Puma will be delivered only. In addition 8 drones DVF 2000 ER from Survey Copter have been sold .It’s interesting to underline that the drone DFV 2000 ER is an extensive range of the drone DFV 2000 by Survey Copter with a mix of technologies from "the penguin" manufactured by UAV Factory and that Lebanon will be the first user.

Lebanese Navy

•             3 FS-56, variant of the combattante III fast patrol boats (CMN) of 56 meters, armored with Simbad launchers for Mistral missiles (MBDA) and a 76 mm automatic gun turret. The first delivery is fixed in 2017

•             Air and naval surveillance radars from Thales (GM 200)

•             Tactical and strategic communication system from Thales (5000 radios)

Training and Maintenance

The contract includes a 10-year support package. In addition France should provide training for7 years, and in this framework, France should send 50 French instructors.

The equipment deliveries will be completed in 2018. It’s important to underline that some of the most urgently needed equipment will be taken from French military inventories.

 

The Final List

 

After the negotiations it seems that the final list is different from the initial shopping list. Indeed, for the Lebanese Air Force, only 7 Cougars AS 532 armed, and the improved version of Puma, will be delivered.

To sum up, The LAF should receive in the upcoming months more armored vehicles, as well as air and naval surveillance radars. The Deliveries of Cougar and the 3 FS-56 by CMN are planned for the end of the contract in 2017.

SDArabia’s Reporter

Delivery Time Table

 

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