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Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf
 

  
YEAR 2001 PRESS RELEASES

Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf
February 27, 2001

Today the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) commissioned the first phase of an important new military capability which provides new dimensions to coordination among the member states and will contributed greatly to the peace and stability of the Arabian Gulf region.
This day has particular significance as it also marks the tenth anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait when the Arab Gulf states stood firm against a common threat.  The system is know as Hizam Al Taawun or, in English, "Belt of Cooperation" and is often referred to simply as HAT.  The HAT system provides for cooperative identification and tracking of all aircraft in airspace over and surrounding the six Gulf Arab States.  The system also
includes extensive state of the art capabilities for military planning and coordination.

The HAT commissioning ceremonies included coordinated flight of military aircraft from the six Arab Gulf States.  In deeply buried bunkers and high technology operations centers the Chiefs of Staff or their delegates from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait observed the combined air maneuvers and participated in a secure briefing
and conference.

HAT began several years ago as a series of studies by the Technical and Operations Committees of the six states.  The studies, which included lessons learned from Desert Storm, culminated in a process that included the guidance and approval by the Heads of State of each of the participating nations.  Two projects were established, the Communications Project and the HAT Project.  The Arab Gulf States contributed their finest military and technical experts to form a Technical Committee for each of these important projects.  Colonel Zuhair Al-Tunisi of the Royal Saudi Signal Corps chairs the Communications Technical Committee.  Colonel Abdullah Al-Kandari of the
Kuwait Air Force chairs the HAT Technical Committee.  The Committees are overseen by the CCASG Deputy Secretary General for Military Affairs, Major General Faleh Al-Shatti and operate under the guidance of His Excellency Jamail Al-Hejailon, the CCASG Secretary General.

In vigorously contested international competitions the Communications Project was awarded to Ericsson, a world-leading supplier of telecommunications systems, and the HAT Project was awarded to Raytheon, the premier international provider of large complex command and control systems.
The total value of the contracts awarded exceeded $160 million US dollars.
It is the largest set of military contracts ever awarded by the CCASG. Using existing military communications paths and adding new capability where required, Ericsson created a high-speed fiber optic network stretching from Kuwait to Oman and linking all of the HAT operations centers.  The communications system has been in operation for a several months.

The HAT system project is a very complex one and requires that the system operate identically in the Arabic or in the English language.  HAT was also extensively tailored to fit the military doctrine of the Arab Gulf States. The system has "real time" requirements to track hundreds of aircraft simultaneously as well as complex tools, maps, and databases in Arabic and English to facilitate military cooperation.  HAT is linked with the national
air defense systems of each participating nation and exchanges information via high speed encrypted data links.  The HAT project also included building and refurbishing military facilities.  In size and complexity the HAT project is in the same class as the air force air defense systems protecting NATO and North America.  Despite the challenges, the HAT project was completed in less than thirty months and within the allocated budget.

The HAT project was a true team effort between customer and contractor founded on mutual trust and professionalism.  The Technical Committee led by Colonel Al-Kandari did an extraordinary job in contributing to and approving the system design, coordinating thousands of details among the six Arab Gulf States, and extensively testing the system prior to final acceptance.  The Committee also dealt with issues of fine tuning a common operational concept and overseeing the training of the HAT crews who are now capable of operating the system in times of peace or crisis.

The future for HAT is bright.  The system has been designed to incorporate technology upgrades to maintain its leading edge capability.  HAT has also been designed for expansion.  Additionally, the operational experience gained by the Arab Gulf States in the HAT environment will deepen the mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation among them.

As the Chiefs of Staff and other senior officials left their bunkers and operations centers today they did so secure in the knowledge that the equation for peace in the Arabian Gulf has been altered by a powerful new element that will serve the people of the region for many years.

Source: Press Release

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 March 25, 2001 18:26:03

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