The U.S Navy says three coastal patrol boats have arrived at 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain to boost its fleet of the rapid-response craft in the Persian Gulf, where U.S. and Iranian forces often operate within close range.
The Navy says the new vessels Wednesday bring the total to eight patrol boats as part of plans to have 10 stationed in Bahrain by early next year.
The 5th Fleet is one of the Pentagon's main counterbalances to Iran's military expansion, including plans for the significant enlargement of Tehran's naval power.
In May, the U.S. Navy led multinational mine-clearing exercises in the Gulf. Iran has warned it could try to block vital oil tanker routes in retaliation for Western sanctions, but has recently backed off the threats.