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Sat 15 Aug 2015 01:07 AM

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US approves $150m support plan for Bahrain fighter jets

Gulf kingdom requests support to maintain operational readiness of the Royal Bahrain Air Force's F-16 fleet

US approves $150m support plan for Bahrain fighter jets
F-16 fighter jet

The United States has approved a possible military sale to Bahrain worth $150 million, weeks after the US lifted a suspension on security assistance to the Gulf kingdom that were put in place after a crackdown on demonstrations in 2011.

The US State Department, which lifted the curbs in June, has made approved a request to supply F-16 follow-on support and associated equipment, parts and logistics.

The Government of Bahrain has requested a possible sale of support for Bahrain’s existing F-16 fleet. Support will include support equipment, communications equipment, ammunition, personal training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, a statement said.

The follow-on support is required to maintain the operational readiness of the Royal Bahrain Air Force’s F-16 fleet.

The statement said the RBAF’s F-16s are aging and periodic maintenance is becoming increasingly expensive. The age of the fleet, combined with an increased operational tempo due to recent involvement in Operation Inherent Resolve has led to increased focus on maintenance and sustainment.

Bahrain will have no difficulty absorbing this additional support into its armed forces, the statement added.

"The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping improve the security of a NAO ally, which has been and continues to be a key security partner in the region," said the statement.

In October 2011, the United States delayed some planned weapons sales to Bahrain pending the outcome of a local investigation into alleged human rights abuses since anti-government uprisings began that February.

In May 2012, the State Department said it was resuming some military sales to Bahrain.

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