Bahraini Army / Bahrain Defense Force (BDF)
The Bahraini army in the 1990s was organized into one brigade, consisting of two mechanized infantry battalions, one tank battalion, one special forces battalion, an armored car squadron, and two artillery and two mortar batteries. Its principal armored weapons were M-60A3 main battle tanks purchased from the United States in the late 1980s. Deliveries are awaited on an order for eighty United States M-113 APCs, supplementing a mixed accumulation of older armored vehicles. The army's artillery pieces consist of a few towed 105mm and 155mm howitzers. Its principal antitank weapon is the BGM-71 AI-TOW wire-guided missile.
By 2010 the Bahraini army was composed of 8,500 personnel, divided into three infantry battalions, three armor battalions, and one artillery group, which could solely and effectively defend it national sovereignty, if invaded, for up to 48 hours. While many world armes focus on offensive capabilities, Bahrain is more of a defensive army, and all of its personnel are located in the capital, Manama. Although a fairly small force, with mediocre training, with the exception being joint training with GCC states, it is still able to possess a significant amount of equipment including reconnaissance vehicles, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, howitzers, surface to air missiles, and a small array of handheld infantry weapons.
The General Command of Bahrain Defence Force announced that on Wednesday 16 March 2011, forces from the Public Security and the National Guard, with the support of the Bahrain Defence Force, launched an operation to clear the Gulf Cooperation Council Roundabout, the Bahrain Financial Harbour, the Salmaniya Medical Complex and the areas surrounding them. "The operation aimed to evacuate all the outlaws who had terrorized citizens and residents and harmed the national economy. The operation was carried out according to plan with high standards of competence and professionalism while ensuring the safety of all. Bahrain Defence Force General Command congratulates all citizens on the start to regain of normalcy and stresses that it will take all necessary procedures and measures to assert security and public order and safeguard the country and the people. The General Command also requests all citizens and residents to avoid gatherings in vital areas of the capital for their own safety."
His majesty the king Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa visited the general leadership of the BDF on thursday the 13th of march 2011, where he said "We praise the role and important duty of BDF in defending the country and constant readiness in preventing the attaint of any danger to this country". His majesty received the General Mutleq Bin Salem Al Alzaimaa', the commander of the Peninsula Shield Forces, and asserted "the glourious duty that the Peninsula shield is carrying out comes as an expression of love and strong bonds between the peoples of our countries, and from mutual defense treaties among the GCC countries". In appreciation to their efforts in defending the Kingdom of Bahrain, a ceremony under the patronage of Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the First General, where the Medallion of Nobility was offered to the chief of Defense forces and the leader of the Peninsula Shield Forces, and the head of the national guard, as well as a number of heads of departments and heads of directorates in the BDF.
On May 11, 2012 US Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Bahraini Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa met today at the Pentagon to discuss regional and bilateral issues. Panetta affirmed the long-standing commitment of the United States to a strong partnership with both the people and the government of Bahrain. The two leaders discussed the full range of regional and bilateral issues, including Bahrain's support of United States Naval Forces Central Command. They also discussed the Bahraini government's ongoing efforts to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report, Kirby said. The commission was established by the King of Bahrain in late June 2011 to investigate the civil unrest that had occurred in Bahrain in February and March of 2011. Panetta acknowledged the release of previously requested defense items and services that will help Bahrain maintain its external defense capabilities, Kirby said. The United States government, he added, will continue to withhold materials that are predominantly intended for use by police and other internal security forces.
Victoria Nuland, State Department Spokesperson, said "We will continue to maintain the holds on the TOW missiles and Humvees that were notified to Congress last October. Certain additional items for the Bahrain Defense Force, as well as all items for the Ministry of the Interior, excepting the Coast Guard and units deployed in Afghanistan, will also remain on hold. The items that we are releasing are not used for crowd control."
|1 Battalion of special forces|
|1 "Amiri" guards battalion|
|1 Anti-aircraft battalion|
|2 Batteries of FAL|
|2 Batteries of FAL|
|1 Anti-aircraft battery|
|1 Tank Brigade (less)|
|2 Tank battalions|
|1 Reconnaissance battalion|
|1 Infantry Brigade|
|1 Artillery "Brigade"|
|1 Artillery battery (heavy)|
|2 Artillery batteries (medium)|
|1 Artillery battery (light)|
|1 MLRS battery|
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress 03 November 2010 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Bahrain of 30 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) T2K Unitary Missiles and associated parts, equipment, training and logistical support for a complete package worth approximately $70 million. The Government of Bahrain has requested a possible sale of 30 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) T2K Unitary Missiles, Missile Common Test Device software, ATACMS Quality Assurance Team support, publications and technical documentation, training, U.S. government and contractor technical and engineering support, and other related elements of program support.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. Bahrain intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces. The Bahrain Defense Forces intends to expand its existing army architecture to counter major regional threats. This will contribute to the Bahrain military's goal of modernizing its capability while further enhancing interoperability with the U.S. and other allies. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Industries in Camden, Arkansas. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
On September 14, 2011 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Bahrain for Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles, TOW Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support worth an estimated $53 million. The Government of Bahrain has requested a possible sale of 44 M1152A1B2 Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), 200 BGM-71E-4B-RF Radio Frequency (RF) Tube-Launched Optically-Tracked Wire-Guided Missiles (TOW-2A), 7 Fly-to-Buy RF TOW-2A Missiles, 40 BGM-71F-3-RF TOW-2B Aero Missiles, 7 Fly-to-Buy RF TOW-2B Aero Missiles, 50 BGM-71H-1RF Bunker Buster Missiles (TOW-2A), 7 Fly-to-Buy RF Bunker Buster Missiles (TOW-2A), 48 TOW-2 Launchers, AN/UAS-12A Night Sight Sets, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.
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