Bahrain gets $43m anti-missile system
By Mark Summers, October 4, 2007
A $43.6 million radar system has been installed to beef up Bahrain's protection against missile attacks, it has been revealed.
The ballistic missile defence radar system has been delivered by the US arms firm Lockheed Martin to the Bahrain Defence Force.
Reports from the US said the AN/TPS-59(V)3B ballistic missile defence radar - which can be used with anti-missile defence systems such as Patriot and Aegis - had passed final tests in Bahrain in August and was now being used as part of surveillance of the kingdom's skies.
The system is said to be able to precisely predict missile launch and impact points and cue defensive weapons against incoming threats.
It can detect both single and multiple targets, and detect and track other targets, such as aircraft.
BDF personnel were trained in how to use the system at Lockheed Martin's Radar Systems facility in Syracuse, New York, earlier this year.
US Marine Corps project officer for the radar in Bahrain Ray Dean said the installation was a major strengthening of Bahrain's defences.
"With the successful delivery of the AN/TPS-59(V)3B, Bahrain has added a vital asset to its existing command and control and missile defence systems," he said.
Parliament's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Shaikh Adel Al Maawada said the delivery of such systems did not have to pass through parliament and MPs had full faith in those in charge of the country's defence policy.
"This is defence policy and it is a separate thing (from parliament). It is the right of the Defence Ministry so these things are totally their policy," he said.
"It might be under routine co-operation between the US and Bahrain. As you know there are hundreds of millions of dollars which are given by the US to Bahrain and some of this amount of money is given in the form of this sort of help."
Shaikh Al Maawada said there was close co-ordination between politicians and defence policymakers.
"They are very co-operative, there is a great deal of respect between us and we have full confidence in their plans and the way they tackle things," he said. "They are very wise and responsible and we are totally confident that they will do the best for their country.
"We know as well that there are some things in which they have to be co-operative within the US. Co-operation with the US is a must."
Shaikh Al Maawada said the delivery of the system, ordered by the US Marine Corps for Bahrain in 2004, could be part of a strategy to protect US allies in the Gulf, in the event of retaliation against US military targets.
"We hope that it is a routine thing, but definitely it is a sign as well that there might be a need for such a system," he said.
"It might be, we don't know. But to be frank and straightforward the possibility is there.
"Using our rights as the parliament of Bahrain we will of course be in contact with the Defence Minister and of course the leaders in Bahrain, to know what is going on and to be in the picture."
US new reports quoted US Republican Congressman Jim Walsh as saying such advanced technology was necessary for the protection of Bahrain.
"Thanks to its strategic location and its status as headquarters of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, Bahrain needs superior in-country defence systems," he said.
"I'm pleased that, once again, Lockheed Martin products are ensuring the safety of an ally and making US troops more secure." -TradeArabia News Service