US clears sale of weapons to Bahrain to support F-16 aircraft fleet

7 May 2019 (Last Updated May 7th, 2019 12:30)

The US State Department has cleared a possible sale of weapons to Bahrain to support its F-16 Block 70/F-16V aircraft fleet.

The US State Department has cleared a possible sale of weapons to Bahrain to support its F-16 Block 70/F-16V aircraft fleet.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of the potential foreign military sale, which is estimated to be worth $750m.

If Congress approves the sale, Bahrain could procure 32 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, one AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM guidance section, 32 AIM-9X missiles, and 20 AGM-84 Block II Harpoon missiles.

The State Department also approved Bahrain’s request to buy two ATM-84L-1 Block II Harpoon missiles, 40 AGM-154 joint standoff weapon (JSOW) all-up-rounds, 50 AGM-88B high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM), and four AGM-88 HARM training missiles.

Also included in the package are GBU-39 250lb small diameter bomb (SDB-1) all-up-rounds, MAU-210 enhanced computer control groups, MXU-650 air foil group, and KMU-557 GBU-31 tail kits.

Furthermore, the US will provide LAU-118 launchers, BRU-61 racks, general purpose air foil groups, tactical training rounds, combat arms training and maintenance assets, and nose support cups.

“Our mutual defence interests anchor our relationship and the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) plays a significant role in Bahrain’s defence.”

The government agreed to offer alternate mission equipment (AME), mission system spares and munitions spare parts, software maintenance and support, as well as missile support and test equipment.

DSCA stated that the deal is intended to support foreign policy and national security objectives of the US. The sale aims to help improve the security of the country’s key security partner in the region.

In a statement, DSCA said: “Our mutual defence interests anchor our relationship and the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) plays a significant role in Bahrain’s defence.

“The proposed sale improves Bahrain’s ability to meet current and future threats. Bahrain will use these capabilities as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.”

In June last year, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.12bn contract by the US Government to produce 16 F-16 Block 70 aircraft for the Royal Bahraini Air Force.

New weapons under the FMS will support the country’s procurement of F-16 Block 70 and upgrades of existing F-16V aircraft.

They are expected to enhance the capability of existing aircraft to sustain operations and meet training requirements.

In 2017, the US approved a possible sale to Bahrain for the upgrade of F-16 Block 40 aircraft to F-16V configuration.