Bahrain plans to buy air-to-air missiles

10.08.2009 Bahrain

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Bahrain has requested US government permission to buy advanced air-to-air missiles, according to a United Press International (UPI) news report.

The Defence Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA), a branch of the US Defence Department which oversees the transfer of military products to US allies, said Congress had been notified of the proposal.

Bahrain has stated its intention to buy 25 AIM-120C-7 missiles, the UPI report said.

Along with associated equipment, parts and logistical support, the deal would be worth around $74 million (BD27.9 million), the DSCA said.

The US Defence Department said the proposal and a similar deal for Jordan would 'enhance the foreign policy and national security objectives of the US', while improving the security of countries that are important forces 'for political stability and peace in the Middle East'.

DSCA said the missiles would help Bahrain meet threats from air-to-air weapons and serve as a deterrent to regional threats.

Neither the Bahrain or Jordan deal would alter the basic military balance in the region, said the DSCA.

The agreements would require a series of trips to both countries by up to six US government representatives and four representatives from Raytheon Corporation, which would be the prime contractor.

The twice-a-year trips would last about a week to allow for programme management reviews.

Both the Jordanian and Bahraini air forces use Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters, which can be armed with AIM-120C-7 missiles, along with other types of aircraft. The AIM-120C-7 missiles carries a 45-pound (20kg) warhead and is guided by active radar and its range is believed to be beyond visual range.-

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