Muharraq Air Base

Muharraq Air Base


Major military airfield in Bahrain, adjacent to Bahrain International Airport, long a British air force base. RAAF P-3C Orions have operated out of Muharraq since  the early stages of the invasion of Iraq. Government sources acknowledged this but argued it should not be publicly acknowledged to avoid embarrassment for the government of Bahrain. It is not yet clear whether Muharraq was one of four Australian Gulf bases to undergo rationalisation in late 2009.

Government sources

Into the breach, Air Force, Vol. 51, No. 14, August 6, 2009

If planning and controlling the life support functions on a major Air Force base in Australia wasn’t enough of a challenge, former commanding officer of 381 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (381ECSS) at Williamtown, WGCDR Peter Davis, has stepped right into the breach as base commander of the new-look ADF Combat Support Unit (CSU) in the MEAO. Not unlike managing the support available on other operational Air Force bases in Australia, the new commander’s unit consists of administration, logistics, force protection, operations, air-load, airfield engineer, ground support and maintenance staff. WGCDR Davis said there were many similarities between the two positions, however, in his new post, his responsibilities cut across five locations and four different countries and, significantly, the 129 personnel under his command directly contribute to and support operations in Afghanistan. “These are the sorts of functions that would normally complement the running of an operational base back home and in this case they also support our AP-3C Orion, C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster operations,” he said. “However, among the more complex and at times demanding responsibilities is that of liaison with the various host nations (HN) and coalition forces (CF) who also share the facilities.” At the time of his appointment, the new Combat Support Unit function had only been stood up for a month, and previous support was not inclusive of aircraft operations.


Australia’s four Mideast bases to be combined to cut costs Mideast Aust, Max Blenkin (AAP), SMH, 2009-10-31

By the end of the year, Australia’s four bases in the Middle East will have become one under a rationalisation program designed to cut costs and improve efficiencies for fighting the conflict in Afghanistan. The new facility will host RAAF AP-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft as well as support troops serving in Afghanistan. It will also house around 500 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel with capacity to accommodate another 500 as troops transit to and from Afghanistan. Australia is spending $87 million on new accommodation, hangars and maintenance facilities at the base. But under diplomatic agreements, the Australian government and defence force undertake not to publicly identify the Persian Gulf nation hosting the new facility, shared with New Zealand, Canadian, Dutch, British and US forces. Neither will Australia identify the other Persian Gulf nations in which troops have been based, although all are well known.

Mid-east military HQ goes to Gulf, Patrick Walters, Australian, 2008-09-22

The Australian Defence Force will embark on a major revamp of its command arrangements and logistical bases in the Middle East next year as the military winds down its involvement in Iraq and gears up for a long campaign in Afghanistan. The relocated joint taskforce headquarters will be much closer to Australia’s main war effort in Afghanistan with the last of combat forces having been withdrawn from Iraq earlier this year. At the same time, Defence wants to consolidate its current support bases dotted along the Arabian Gulf into one key location. Since the 2003 Gulf War Defence has maintained separate bases in the region for its C-130 Hercules detachment, its AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, and its main logistical support base in Kuwait. The C-130 Hercules detachment with about 160 personnel is based in Qatar and the AP-3C Orions with 170 personnel are based in the United Arab Emirates.

Wizards of OZ, Tony Holmes, Global Defence Review, 2007

Already in-theatre [by February 2003] were two RAAF P-3C Orions, almost certainly flying out of the US Navy’s facility at Muharraq. These aircraft had arrived in the Gulf in January 2003 at the start of a 12-month-long deployment as part of Operation Slipper. Flying alongside American P-3Cs of VP-1 and EP-3E Aries IIs of VQ-1, the two Australian Orions had flown surveillance flights in the Gulf of Oman in the weeks leading up to OIF.

Muharraq Airfield, Bahrain,

Useful but dated background, photos, crude map, and official links.

Bahrain International Airport, Wikipedia

See also

Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
Updated: 8 November 2009