THREE US surveillance ships docked in Bahrain yesterday as America plans to double its presence in the region amid escalating tensions with Iran.
They will support maritime security operations carried out by the Fifth Fleet, which has added the three Patrol Coastal (PC) vessels to its existing five ships.
All eight, including the USS Tempest (PC 2), USS Squall (PC 7) and USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), will be permanently stationed in Bahrain, as part of plans to double naval presence in the Gulf region.
The USS Hurricane (PC 3) and USS Monsoon (PC 4) will complete the squadron to 10 ships by spring next year.
"Having additional PCs here in Bahrain will give us incredible flexibility in the Fifth Fleet area of operations since they are uniquely capable of operating in this dynamic environment," said Commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command and the US Fifth Fleet Vice-Admiral John W Miller.
"They will allow for continued maritime security operations to security co-operation in the Fifth Fleet."
The new vessels will have a permanent crew, whose families have been allowed to accompany them to Bahrain.
"The shift to permanent PC crews alleviates the significant strain placed on the crews and their families while ensuring capacity and capability stays strong here in the area of responsibility (AOR)," said Destroyer Squadron 50 Commander Captain Joseph Naman.
"The well-being of our sailors and families is critical to the accomplishment of our missions."
The new ships will provide the US Navy with a fast, reliable platform that can respond to threats in a shallow water environment.
"These ships are ideal for working with partner navies in the Gulf," added Captain Naman.
"The navies and coast guard of our coalition partners operate similar craft, with similar systems and capability - that fosters better interoperability in the maritime domain."