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Bahrein operates with US Forces in exercise Neon Defender 21

According to information published by US Navy on April 8, 2021, the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) conducted bi-lateral maritime exercise Neon Defender (ND) 21 at sea in the Persian Gulf and on land in the Kingdom of Bahrain, April 3-7.


According to information published by US Navy on April 8, 2021, the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) conducted bi-lateral maritime exercise Neon Defender (ND) 21 at sea in the Persian Gulf and on land in the Kingdom of Bahrain, April 3-7.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Royal Bahrain Naval Force fast attack craft RBNS Abdul Rahman Al-Fadel (P 22), Bahrain Coast Guard response boats Hawar 5 and Hawar 4, U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72), patrol coastal ships USS Squall (PC 7) and USS Hurricane (PC 3), U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Adak (WBP 1333) and two Mark VI patrol boats operate information during exercise Neon Defender in the Persian Gulf. (Picture source: US Navy)


ND 21 is the capstone in a series of bilateral land, sea, and air exercises between the BDF and NAVCENT, designed to broaden levels of cooperation, support long-term regional security, and enhance military-to-military interoperability.

To expand upon existing year-round interoperability training, participating units conducted multiple simulated scenarios, focusing on maritime security, maritime infrastructure protection and harbor defense, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), high-value unit (HVU) defense, medical, mine clearance, airfield damage repair and counter-improvised explosive device (IED) operations.

ND 21 also included the first time Bahrain and U.S. forces participated in air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) training together. During the training, aircraft from both nations practiced maritime strike operations against simulated threats.

With a focus on expanding interoperability in a comprehensive, joint environment, participating tri-service U.S. maritime forces from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard included patrol craft, harbor protection unit boats, Mark VI patrol boats, explosive ordnance disposal teams, a Marine Corps Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) platoon, a Coast Guard Maritime Engagement team, MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters, a Global Health Engagement team, a Naval Construction Force team, and joint terminal attack controllers. U.S. Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) fixed-wing fighter aircraft also participated in the AOMSW portion of the exercise.

The Kingdom of Bahrain is host to the U.S. 5th Fleet headquarters and maintains a strong military-to-military relationship with the U.S. as a key regional and coalition partner.

The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

RBNS Abdul Rahman Al Fadel 22 is Ahmed Al Fateh (Lürssen TNC 45) class Missile boat from Royal Bahrain Naval Force which was a part of this exercise.

The TNC 45 is a class of missile boats designed and built by Lurssen Shipyard in Germany to operate in the littoral environment. These ships have been designed to perform anti-surface warfare (ASuW) utilizing two/four MM38/40 Exocet anti-ship missiles and a 76mm OTO dual-purpose gun. Besides, these ships are fitted with two 7.62mm machine guns and one 40mm anti-aircraft gun. The propulsion system is based on four diesel engines developing 13,000-shp and allowing a top speed in excess of 41 knots. The ship also includes Sea Giraffe 50 air and surface search radar, or an alternative radar, along with fire control system, jammer and chaff dispenser.