US to boost naval operations in Bahrain
Manama, March 29, 2014
A top US Navy official has revealed plans to boost US naval operations in Bahrain, including accommodating more combat ships.
US Naval Forces Central Command and US Fifth Fleet Commander Vice Admiral John Miller said the modifications would allow in new littoral combat ships (LCS), which are due to be operational in the Gulf by 2018, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"This shows that there is an enduring presence," he told Defence News publication at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition.
"Some of the modifications that we are doing right now will help us get the base ready for the arrival of the LCS, which will start right around 2018.
"Those are ships that will serve in the US Navy and this area right until the middle of the current century."
The LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments, according to the US Navy.
It is designed to defeat asymmetric anti-access threats, such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
"We would not plan for this infrastructure if we did not plan on staying here and the second thing is that we plan on staying not just as the US Navy but in a coalition environment," added Vice Admiral Miller.
He said the $580 million expansion of the Naval Support Activity in Juffair showed the important role of the US presence in the region.
"I see this role as growing over time and will continue to grow; we provide a certain amount of technical expertise, we bring a certain amount of firepower to the maritime security force as a sort of backbone but the most important thing we provide is leadership," he said.
"We have seen the addition of the flyover that connects us to the waterfront side of things will be completed in a few months, we continue to negotiate additional leases with the Bahrainis and we continue to see some growth there and we also have opportunities with some other partners to consolidate our maintenance activities there to allow us to be more efficient."-TradeArabia News Service