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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.

“It 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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