Major vessels can now berth at the UK’s base in Bahrain, say the Royal Navy.

The base, also known as HMS Jufair, was reestablished as a permanent Royal Navy base in 2014. In 2018, the UK Naval Support Facility was officially opened by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Britain’s Prince Andrew.

According to a news release, shallower draft ships such as Hunt and Sandown-class minehunters have been using the quayside at the UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain since it opened two years ago – allowing them much easier access to engineering support and fresh supplies.

“But larger Royal Navy vessels – notably Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers – have either used the Flour Jetty, or the slightly more distant Finger Jetty as personnel were not sure their own quay could handle them safely. It’s been completely refurbished with HMS Argyll – one of two Type 23s currently operating out of Bahrain, alongside her sister Montrose – christening the new facility.”

UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain. Picture: LPhot Rory Arnold

Commander Andrew Ainsley, who brought HMS Argyll alongside the jetty for the first time, was quoted as saying:

“To be able not only to draw on the first-rate support available, but to also afford our people the creature comforts provided ashore, will allow the UK Maritime Component to enhance its operational edge in this important and demanding theatre. Quite apart from that, it is great to have the genuine feel of a task group as we berth next to the mine-hunters and build our team.”

Commander Suzy Conway, the support facility’s Commanding Officer added:

“This year we have succeeded in delivering a series of ‘firsts’ and the team should be very proud of their achievements. We have seen the first Type 23 alongside the UKNSF Jetty since the facility here in Bahrain was issued a licence and gained approvals from the US to use their newly-refurbished jetty.”

This new permanent base is a valuable asset for Britain’s military capabilities and shows to her allies commitment to the region’s security and stability. However, It is understood that HMS Juffair has its limitations, the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will not be able to berth directly at the facility – the port it’s too shallow for the largest vessels ever built by the Royal Navy – the carriers, like the Americans supercarriers, will have to anchor nearby.

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Ian M
Ian M
3 months ago

A slightly confusing article, why do we need permission from the U.S.?
“……was issued a licence and gained approvals from the US to use their newly-refurbished jetty.”

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian M

It might be that the US already had basing rights there – Gunbuster will know is this where he is based ?.

Cam
Cam
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

But we British originally gave that naval base to USA when we got rid of the eastern fleet didn’t we?

RichardB
RichardB
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian M

Because the Yanks own (lease) the jetties. HMS Jufair doesn’t have its own.

RichardB
RichardB
3 months ago
Reply to  RichardB

On reflection, a “naval base” that doesn’t own its own quay or jetty is rather embarrassing! Adjacent is a small naval base for the Royal Bahrain Naval Force which can berth a frigate, and nearby is the commercial port.

RN Invincible’s and the USN’s Iwo Jima class LPH’s used to berth at ASU SWA, but I don’t recollect ever seeing a Wasp LHD. US super carriers always anchored miles off shore.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  RichardB

The RN and the USN don’t own the land the bases are on. They run, not own the jetties and base areas. That’s one of the reasons why its not HMS JUFFAIR and is UKNSF…its not sovereign UK territory. The BDF OHP class Frigate always berths on the finger jetty. The BDF base cannot take anything bigger than the Lurrsen Corvettes it houses. There have been WASP class boats on Flour Jetty. I worked on one doing a Pump Motor UXE and it was a bit big to imagine…it was also carrying a rather impressive air group along with all… Read more »

RichardB
RichardB
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

My point was the US has been leased the jetties by the now Kingdom of Bahrain, not the UK. Fair point about the ex-USN frigate Sabha, she was fixture at her berth – she was never in any USN/RN/BAN exercise I was involved with. I recently read she getting an expensive major refit, very hard to believe that she’s worth it. Retaining a prestige flagship seems to have triumphed over maintaining basic operational capabilities.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  RichardB

She’s had the refit (my mate was the Project Manager on it) and she was acting as flag ship for the GCC coalition last year. She was in fact out and about a couple of weeks ago as well.

RichardB
RichardB
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I appreciate your far more recent knowledge. I wonder how that went, I worked at the BDF HQ in Isa town for some exercises in 90’s …

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

It’s been open for a while. Montrose recently berthed inside the secure area that is UKNSF. Mostly this is only used by the MCMVs. This allowed Montrose to do the crew swap whilst minimising the risk from COVID. As to the new jetty it’s been very busy. 2 X T23, LPA, OHP, Anzac, EFT, Landing ship and a Usns tug all along side at the same time at one point. The flour jetty can take big ships. It’s had UK LPDs on it and USN Wasp Class. The big carriers however need to go to the deep water Container Port… Read more »

Helions
Helions
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Super post. Thanks GB.

Cheers!

Airborne
Airborne
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

As ever, up to date and interesting info! Never understood the navy in my brainwashed younger days, until I needed them lol. Cheers!

Ian M
Ian M
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Alles claar, wunderbar! 🙂

Cam
Cam
3 months ago

I’ll miss the type 23 when they are all scrapped! They look great!. If only we could save more ships for the nation, an old type 42 or type 23 next to Belfast would draw the tourists, hell a vanguard nuclear sub would be even better in the middle of London, who wouldn’t visit.

Helions
Helions
3 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Well, apparently the HMS Winchester 3rd Rate S.O.T.L is still around according to the Express – How about her? At 200 years old she’d be a big draw! 😀

Cheers!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
3 months ago
Reply to  Cam

HMS Conqueror is still hanging about – I’d say the only nuclear submarine ever to sink enemy shipping is worthy of being turned into a museum

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

Please dont call it HMS Juffair…
Its not…
Its UKNSF Bahrain.
Even the sign at the front gate is UKNSF. No mention of HMS JUFFAIR.

RichardB
RichardB
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Following the USN’s example locally?

But the new HMS Jufair does have a badge which is clearly based on that of the old HMS Jufair. The main difference is that dhow is now sailing to left of the observer, rather almost towards them. I have an old wall plaque.

John
3 months ago

Really proud of this. If we are looking to increase our presence in the Pacific I would push for something similar out that way, although then we’d need the ship numbers to justify it… And also not sure how wide it is to prod the Chinese beast. I understand some people think it may be useful to have something similar in the Carribbean region too, but personally I’m undecided on that front. I get the arguments against and am not clear what an increased naval presence in that neck of the woods would bring. Maybe it would give us a… Read more »

RichardB
RichardB
3 months ago

Crikey, the area has changed. I spent 10 years (1994-2004) working in some grotty old buildings near HMS Jufair that the British Army used until about 1970. It was beside the back gate to the USN’s ASU SW (as ex-HMS Jufair was then called), which having an RNR ID card I often frequented. Looks like the whole area has since been completely rebuilt, with a lot of land reclamation. Incidentally the district is officially spelled in English as “Al Juffair”, but I believe the new base has retained the old spelling of “Jufair”, taken from the village that used to… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  RichardB

You wouldn’t recognise the base areas now. The USN base is split between the old area you remember and a huge new waterfront complex on the other side of the highway by the grain silos. The British area is not as big but still quite large and well equipped for the MCMV force.It sits between the USN and BDF areas. The finger jetty has just been modernised and updated .It can take large vessels now . Cardigan Bay berths their regularly on the existing old part and the new part of the jetty. Add in the Airport military hub links… Read more »

RichardB
RichardB
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks. You’ve got me reminiscing! It’s good to see the RN back there in strength, the only near permanent UK military in Bahrain whilst I was there was an RAF detachment at Bahrain International Airport (ex RAF Muharraq), who operated a couple of VC-10’s for inflight refueling.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  RichardB

They are still there. Mostly Loggies now with no permanent aircraft allocated . They deal with the Mid East hub flights from Minad and the direct flights from the UK.