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Bahrain inaugurates Patriot air-defence base

Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Khalifa poses with air defenders from the Royal Bahraini Air Force in front of Patriot and HAWK components at Camp Ras al-Bar. (Bahrain News Agency)

Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, the commander-in-chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, inaugurated a base for the kingdom's new Patriot air-defence systems on 7 February.

Bahrain TV aired footage of the event held at a location identified as Camp Ras al-Bar, where a Patriot system was displayed in Bahrain for the first time alongside one of the kingdom's old HAWK air-defence systems.

The Patriot components included an AN/MPQ-56 radar, an engagement control station, and two launchers, one loaded with four PAC-2 missile canisters and the other with eight of the smaller canisters used for longer-range PAC-3 MSE missiles.

The building behind the VIP stand had a sign saying it is the headquarters of the Long Range Missile Battalion.

In his speech, Air Vice-Marshal Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, the commander of the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF), described Camp Ras al-Bar as one part of a wider plan to improve Bahrain's air defences.

β€œIt was necessary to establish several camps and sites located after careful study in various parts of the kingdom, along with providing them with the latest and most efficient air-defence systems and preparing qualified Bahraini cadres,” he said.

The US government approved the sale of two Patriot systems with 60 PAC-3 missiles and 36 PAC-2 GEM-T missiles to Bahrain in May 2019. Raytheon announced in March 2020 that it had received a USD551 million Bahraini Patriot contract. A contract awarded to Lockheed Martin in November 2021 listed Bahrain as a customer for the PAC-3 MSE missile.

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