Another sign of the times regarding preparing for war with Iran: Last week, the Air Force installed a new long-range air surveillance radar in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the 380th Air Wing.
Of course the press release on the defending airmen of the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron from the Ohio National Guard makes no mention of Iran or the UAE. The radar is being deployed to the “Arabian Gulf” to an unnamed country.
“Our job is to constantly watch the skies,” said Lt. Col. Steven A. Breitfelder, 727th EACS commander, deployed from Blue Ash Air National Guard Station, Ohio. “Our operators defend the Arabian Gulf and its surrounding countries by monitoring the area for enemy aircraft.”
The 380th Wing is deployed at the hyper-modern Al Dhafra Airbase, located approximately 20 miles south of Abu Dhabi and operated by the United Arab Emirates Air Force.
According to the 380th Wing’s official fact sheet, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing was reactivated on January 25, 2002, but Global Hawk UAVs and other U.S. aircraft started operating from Al Dhafra almost immediately after 9/11. The 380th’s mission is to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and aerial refueling, the official fact sheet says, and currently the wing is comprised of five groups and 18 squadrons. The Open Source GEOINT blog has in incomparable layout and description of the base, just in case you wondered whether there is any real secret involved here.
Al Dhafra air base has been almost continuously occupied by the United States since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, some secret. The Air Force says the defenders have “another arrow in their quiver,” a freudian slip no doubt. I’m sure Iran sees it as an arrow.