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Bahraini frigate modernisation plan revealed

The ex-USS Robert G Bradley undergoing refurbishment in a dry dock in Charleston in May 2022. The frigate will be called RBNS Khalid Bin Ali in Bahraini service. (NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support)

Bahrain's existing Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate and a second it is in the process of acquiring will have their radars and combat management systems (CMSs) replaced, according to a notice that the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division released via the System for Award Management website on 15 May.

Bahrain commissioned the ex-USS Jack Williams as RBNS Sabha (90) in 1997 and its plan to acquire a second Oliver Hazard Perry-class ship was announced in October 2019, when the US Department of State's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale of the ex-USS Robert G Bradley had been approved for an estimated USD150 million, which included the cost of refurbishment.

The market research notice released on 15 May revealed that this ship will be called RBNS Khalid Bin Ali (91) in Bahraini service.

It said the plan is to replace the Bahraini frigates' existing CMS with either the Lockheed Martin COMBATSS-21, which was developed for the US Navy's Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships, or the BAE Systems INTeACT, which it noted is a UK Royal Navy programme of record.

Their AN/SPS-49(V)4 air search radars will be replaced with either the widely used Saab AN/SPS-77(V)3 Sea Giraffe or the Raytheon AN/SPY-6 that will be fitted to the US Navy's new Constellation-class frigates.

The Bahraini frigate's surface search and navigation radars will be replaced, respectively, by the Ultra Maritime AN/SPS-73(V)18 and Sperry Marine VisionMaster.

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