Construction has begun on the expansion of the US Navy base in Bahrain as part of an effort to enhance the combat capabilities of the US Navy Fifth Fleet based in the region.

Under the four-phase $580m project, the US Navy will build utilities infrastructure, consolidated port operations and harbour patrol facility and a flyover bridge connecting Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain to the new port facilities.

NSA Bahrain commanding officer Enrique Sadsad said the expansion project on the 70-acre site would enhance US military capabilities to support missions including logistics, aviation, theatre security or surface operational support, and provide necessary infrastructure to its personnel.

NSA Bahrain is the primary naval base for the US to support regional maritime operations in the Arabian Gulf.

Work being carried out at the Mina Salman port is scheduled to be complete in 2015.