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Saudi Arabian Army

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The Royal Saudi Land Forces (KSA) (Arabic: القُوَّاتُ البَرِّيَّةُ المَلَكِيَّة السُّـعُودِيَّة‎), also called the Saudi Arabian Army (Arabic: الجَيْشُ العَرَبيّ السُّـعُودِيَّ‎ Al-Jaysh Al-Araby al-Saudi), are the largest branch of the Saudi Arabia Armed Forces. The Chief of the Saudi General Staff until 2011 was Field Marshal Saleh Al-Muhaya.[3]

Royal Saudi Land Forces
القُوَّاتُ البَرِّيَّةُ المَلَكِيَّة السُّـعُودِيَّة
Royal Saudi Land Forces.png
Seal
Active1745 (as an independent service arm)[1]
Country Saudi Arabia
BranchRoyal Armed Forces (since 1902)
TypeArmy
RoleGround-based warfare
Size75,000[2]
Part of
  • MODA (as of Sep 1934)
    GSP (as of Dec 1925)
  • MOW (1773– 1891)
HeadquartersRiyadh
AnniversariesJanuary 13; (117 years ago)
DecorationsOrder of the Battlefield SA.png
WebsiteOfficial Website
Commanders
Chairman of the General Staff
General Fayyadh Al Ruwaili
Commander of Royal Land Forces
Lt. Gen. Fahd al Mutair
Insignia


Chief of General Staff flag of the Saudi Armed Forces.svg
Battle flag
Flag of the Royal Saudi Land Forces.png
A column of M-113 APCs and other military vehicles of the Royal Saudi Land Forces travel along a channel cleared of mines during Operation Desert Storm., Kuwait - 1 March 1991.

HistoryEdit

 
The 20th Brigade of the Royal Saudi Land Forces display a 155 mm (6 in) GCT self-propelled gun, left, and AMX-10P infantry combat vehicles

The modern RSLF has its roots in the first Saudi State, which was formed as early as 1745, and is considered to be the birth year of the Saudi army. As of 13 January 1902 the Royal Saudi Land Forces was founded, and it is considered the oldest branch of the KSA's military.[1]

Other events that led to an expansion of the Saudi Army were the Arab–Israeli conflict in 1948, the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the subsequent fears of possible Shia's actions, and in the last years the first Gulf War in 1990. In the year 2000, Saudi Arabia's government spent billions of dollars to expand the Saudi Forces including the Saudi Army.[citation needed]

 
A Saudi M60A3 tank being transferred

Saudi Arabia's armed forces suffer severe difficulties due to their over-reliance on foreign contractor support and unwillingness to conduct realistic training.[4] Much very modern equipment is not properly understood or used.

Mohammad bin Salman was appointed Defense Minister when his father,who had been Minister,became King in 2015.[5]

Wars involvedEdit

 
Saudi Arabian army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during Operation Desert Shield.

First Saudi State (1745–1818)Edit

Saudi State (1818–1891)Edit

The Unification of Saudi Arabia (1902–1933)Edit

 
A Saudi Arabian (HMMWV) with a QCB machine gun mounted on top depart for the seaport of Mogadishu in Somalia

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1933–present)Edit

 
Grand mosque seizure

StructureEdit

 
US Marines training members of the Saudi Arabian Army

The combat strength of the Saudi Army consists of 4 Armoured, 5 Mechanized, 2 Light Infantry (1 Royal Guards, 1 Special Forces) Brigades. The Saudi Army deployed the 12th Armoured Brigade and 6th Mechanized Brigade at King Faisal Military City in the Tabuk area. It deployed the 4th Armoured Brigade, and 11th Mechanized Brigade at King Abdul Aziz Military City in the Khamis Mushayt area. It deployed the 20th Mechanized Brigade and 8th Mechanized Brigade at King Khalid Military City near Hafr al Batin. The 10th Mechanized Brigade is deployed at Sharawrah, which is near the border with Yemen and about 150 kilometers from Zamak.[8]

Despite the addition of a number of units and increased mobility achieved during the 1970s and 1980s, the army's personnel complement has expanded only moderately since a major buildup was launched in the late 1960s. The army has been chronically understrength, in the case of some units by an estimated 30 to 50 percent. These shortages have been aggravated by a relaxed policy that permitted considerable absenteeism and by a serious problem of retaining experienced technicians and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). The continued existence of a separate national guard also limited the pool of potential army recruits.[8]

Armor

  • 4th (King Khaled) Armoured Brigade
  • 6th (King Fah'd) Armoured Brigade
  • 7th (Prince Sultan) Armoured Brigade
  • 8th (King Fah'd) Armoured Brigade
  • 10th (King Faisal) Armoured Brigade
  • 12th (Khalid ibn al-Walid) Armoured Brigade

A typical Saudi armoured brigade has an armoured reconnaissance company, three tank battalions with 35 tanks each, a mechanized infantry battalion with AIFVs/APCs, and an artillery battalion with 18 self-propelled guns. It also has an army aviation company, an engineer company, a logistic battalion, a field workshop, and a medical company.[9]

Mechanized

  • 11th Mechanized Brigade
  • 12th Mechanized Brigade
  • 13th Mechanized Brigade
  • 14th Mechanized Brigade
  • 20th Mechanized Brigade

A typical Saudi mechanized brigade has an armoured reconnaissance company, one tank battalion with 40 tanks, three mechanized infantry battalions with AIFVs/APCs, and an artillery battalion with 18 self-propelled guns. It also has an army aviation company, an engineer company, a logistic battalion, a field workshop, and a medical company. It has 24 anti-tank guided weapons launchers and four mortar sections with a total of eight 81 mm (3 in) mortars.[9]

Infantry

  • 16th (King Saud) Light motorized infantry brigade
  • 17th (Abu Bakr Assiddeeq) Light motorized infantry brigade
  • 18th (King Abdullah) Light motorized infantry brigade
  • 19th (?Umar ibn Al-Khatt?b) Light motorized infantry brigade

Each infantry brigade consists of three motorized battalions, an artillery battalion, and a support battalion. Army brigades should not be confused with Saudi Arabian National Guard brigades.

Airborne Units and Special Security Forces

  • The 1st Airborne Brigade
    • 4th Airborne Battalion
    • 5th Airborne Battalion
  • 64th Special Forces Brigade
    • 85th Special Forces Battalion

The Airborne Brigade is normally deployed near Tabuk. The Airborne Brigade has two parachute battalions and three Special Forces companies. Saudi Arabia is expanding its Special Forces and improving their equipment and training to help deal with the threat of terrorism. The Special Forces have been turned into independent fighting units to help deal with terrorists, and report directly to Prince Sultan.

Artillery Battalions

  • five artillery battalions
    • 14th FA (Towed, 155) Battalion
    • 15th FA (MLRS) Battalion
    • 18th Missile (MLRS) Battalion

Aviation

  • 1st Aviation Group
  • 2nd Aviation Group
  • 3rd Aviation Group
  • 4th Aviation Group

The separate Royal Guard Regiment consists of four light infantry battalions.

 
Saudi Arabian Army Structure (click to enlarge).

Main equipmentEdit

Note that figures below do not include war losses due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

Infantry weaponsEdit

Small armsEdit

Model Image Origin Type Caliber Notes
Handguns
Browning Hi-Power     Belgium Handgun 9×19mm Parabellum
SIG Sauer P226      Switzerland Handgun 9×19mm Parabellum
Glock     Austria Handgun 9×19mm Parabellum
Submachine guns
FN P90     Belgium Submachine gun FN 5.7×28mm
Heckler & Koch MP5     Germany Submachine gun 9×19mm Parabellum Manufactured by Military Industries Corporation. MP5A2, MP5A3 & MP5K variants.[10]
Rifles
Heckler & Koch HK33     West Germany Assault Rifle 5.56×45mm NATO HK33E variant.[11]
Heckler & Koch G36     Germany
  Saudi Arabia
Assault Rifle 5.56×45mm NATO Manufactured by Military Industries Corporation[12]
FN SCAR-H     Belgium
  United States
Battle Rifle 7.62×51mm NATO Used by Airborne Units and Special Security Forces in the Royal Saudi Land Forces.[13][14]
M4 carbine     United States Carbine 5.56×45mm NATO Special forces only.
Heckler & Koch G3     West Germany
  Saudi Arabia
Battle Rifle 7.62×51mm NATO Standard Issue Rifle of Saudi Arabian Army. Manufactured by Military Industries Corporation[15]
M16A2 rifle     United States Assault Rifle 5.56×45mm NATO
FN F2000     Belgium Bullpup assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO The Saudi Arabian National Guard purchased 55,000 rifles in 2005.[16][17]
Steyr AUG
AUG A1 HBAR
 
 
  Austria Assault Rifle 5.56×45mm NATO Standard assault rifle of the Saudi Arabian Army since 2009. [18][19]
AK-103     Russia Assault Rifle 7.62×39mm Used by Airborne Units and Special Security Forces in the Royal Saudi Land Forces.[20][21] A license to produce AK-103 rifles was granted to Saudi Arabia in 2017.[22][23][24]
Machine guns
Heckler & Koch MG4     Germany Light machine gun 5.56×45mm NATO Standard light machine gun of the Saudi Arabian army.
Rheinmetall MG3     West Germany General-purpose machine gun 7.62×51mm NATO Standard general-purpose machine gun of the Saudi Arabian army.
FN Minimi     Belgium Squad automatic weapon 5.56×45mm NATO
FN MAG     Belgium General-purpose machine gun 7.62×51mm NATO
Vektor SS-77     South Africa General-purpose machine gun

5.56×45mm NATO

M2 Browning     United States Heavy machine gun 12.7×99mm NATO Standard heavy machine gun of the Saudi Arabian army
Sniper rifles
Accuracy International AWM     United Kingdom Sniper Rifle .300 Winchester Magnum
Heckler & Koch PSG1     Germany Sniper rifle 7.62×51mm NATO
M107/M107A1     United States Anti-materiel rifle 12.7×99mm NATO
AWP (Arctic Warfare Police)     United Kingdom Sniper Rifle 7.62×51mm NATO
Robar RC-50     United States Anti-material sniper rifle 12.7 × 99 mm NATO
Steyr SSG 69     Austria Sniper rifle 7.62×51mm NATO

Grenade, rocket, anti-tank, and missile systemsEdit

Model Image Origin Type Caliber Notes
Grenade launchers
M203     United States Grenade launcher 40×46mm SR
AGS-30     Russia Automatic grenade launcher 40×46mm Manufactured by Saudi Arabian Military Industries[25][26]
Portable anti-tank weapons
C90-CR (M3)     Spain Rocket-propelled grenade 90mm
9M133 Kornet     Russia
  Saudi Arabia
Anti-tank guided missile Tandem HEAT Manufactured by Saudi Arabian Military Industries[25][26][27]
FGM-148 Javelin     United States Medium-range Anti-tank guided missile 127mm Standard infantry AT weapon. 20 launchers and 150 missiles[28]
MBT LAW     United Kingdom
  Sweden
Short-range anti-tank missile system 150mm In service with Royal Saudi Land Forces.
RBS 56B BILL 2     Sweden SACLOS Anti-tank missile 127mm
Raybolt   South Korea Anti-tank missile Used in Yemen.
Mounted anti-tank weapons
HOT     France Anti-tank Missile Tandem charge HEAT HOT and HOT-2 delivered in 1989 and 1997 for use on AMX-10.
AGM-114 Hellfire     United States Anti-tank missile High-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) Used on AH-64D and AH-6s
BGM-71 TOW
BGM-71C ITOW
BGM-71D TOW-2
BGM-71E TOW-2A
    United States Anti-tank missile 150mm Standard Issue to Saudi Arabian Army.

MortarsEdit

Model Image Origin Type Caliber Notes
M224 mortar     United States Lightweight mortar 60mm
Brandt Mle CM60A1     France Gun-mortar 60mm
2R2M 120MM     United States
  France
Heavy mortar 120mm Used On M113 APC.
MO-120-RT-61 120mm     France Heavy mortar 120mm
M30 mortar     United States Heavy mortar 106mm

VehiclesEdit

TanksEdit

Model Image Origin Variant Quantity Details
M1 Abrams     United States M1A2S 422 Saudi Arabia bought 373 M1A2 tanks,[29] with further 69 more M1A2S tanks ordered on 8 January 2013 and delivered by 31 July 2014.[30] Later Saudi Arabia decided to upgrade all of M1A2 variants to M1A2S configuration. 153 M1A2S on order since Aug 9, 2016[29] 20 were lost in Yemen[31]
M60 Patton     United States M60A3 390[32] 1,300 were acquired. At least 37 are visually confirmed as being destroyed in Yemen.
AMX-30     France AMX-30SA 250 In reserve. Though at least 3 are visually confirmed as being destroyed in Yemen.

Infantry fighting vehicles and Armored personnel carriersEdit

Model Image Origin Variant Quantity Details
M2 Bradley     United States M2A2 400[32] Principal IFV of the Saudi Army.[33] At least 57 lost in Yemen.
AMX-10P     France 293[32] 500[34] were bought from France in 1974; most are now stored as a reserve.
M113     United States M113A1
M113A3
3,112 [33] At least 61 visually confirmed as destroyed in Yemen.
M548     United States
Al-Masmak   Saudi Arabia 5,331 x[35][36][37]
HMMWV     United States M997 HMMWV
M998 HMMWV
M1026 HMMWV
M1151 HMMWV
1500
Oshkosh M-ATV     United States Many 1859 Saudi Arabia began negotiations for an order for an undisclosed number of M-ATVs Saudi Arabia received an estimated 1859. Several dozen have been destroyed in Yemen. With many being donated to Pro-Hadi forces and subsequently getting destroyed in fighting.
URO VAMTAC     Spain 30 [38]
Didgori Medevac     Georgia Armored medical evacuation vehicle 100+ Saudi Arabia ordered 100+ Didgori Medevac from Georgia in 2016.
CUCV II[39]     United States 200+

Artillery and missile systemsEdit

Model Image Origin Type Variant Quantity Details
M270     United States MRL 270mm 50
Astros II MLRS     Brazil MRL 127mm SS-30 72
PLZ-45     China Self-propelled howitzer 155mm 54[40]
M109 howitzer     United States Self-propelled howitzer 155mm M109A1
M109A2
M109A5
600[41]
AMX-GCT     France Self-propelled howitzer 155mm 51
M198 howitzer     United States Towed howitzer 155mm 144
FH-70     United Kingdom Towed howitzer 155mm 40
M114 howitzer     United States Towed howitzer 155mm M114A1 534 All are stored in reserve.
M102 howitzer     United States Towed howitzer 105mm 300[33]
M101 howitzer     United States Towed howitzer 105mm M101A1 800 All are stored in reserve.

Army aviationEdit

Model Image Origin Type Variant Quantity Details
AH-64 Apache     United States Attack Helicopter AH-64D 94 A further 29 AH-64D Longbow III requested for more than $1.2bn.
Boeing AH-6     United States Armed scout helicopter 0 36 on order for Saudi Arabian National Guard
Bell 406     United States Scout helicopter Bell 406CS 13
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk     United States Transport helicopter UH-60L 37 A further 24 UH-60L requested for $350m.
Sikorsky S-70     United States Medevac helicopter S-70A1L 8
Boeing CH-47F Chinook     United States Cargo helicopter CH-47F 48 Ordered in December 2016.
Aeryon Scout[42]   Canada Miniature UAV 10
Saqr,2,3,4[43]   Saudi Arabia Unmanned aerial vehicle ? ?
CAIG Wing Loong[44][45]     China MALE
UCAV
Pterodactyl
Wing Loong II
300[46]
Denel Dynamics Seeker[47][48]     South Africa
  Saudi Arabia[49]
UCAV Seeker 400 ?
EMT Luna X-2000[50]     Germany
  Saudi Arabia[51]
Unmanned aerial vehicle ? ?
Selex ES Falco[52]     Italy Unmanned aerial vehicle ? ?
  • (Anti-Air systems belong to Air Defense Force)

Royal Saudi Land Forces ranksEdit

Land officer corpsEdit

Equivalent
NATO Code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) & Student officer
  Saudi Arabia
(Edit)
No equivalent                      
General
(فريق أول)
Lieutenant
general
(فريق)
Major
general
(لواء)
Brigadier General
(عميد)
Colonel
(عقيد)
Lieutenant
colonel
(مقدم)
Major
(رائد)
Captain
(نقيب)
First
lieutenant
(ملازم أول)
Second
lieutenant
(ملازم)
Officer cadet

Land enlisted corpsEdit

Junior enlisted Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) Warrant officers (WOs)
Private
(Pte)
First class private
(Pfc)
Corporal
(Cpl)
Vice sergeant
(VSgt)
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Staff sergeant
(SSgt)
Warrant officer
(WO)
E-1/2 E-3 E-4 E-5/6 E-7 E-8 E-9
No chevron
(Arabic: جندي Jundi‎)
One chevron
(Arabic: جندي أول Jundi Awaal‎)
Two chevrons
(Arabic: عريف Areef‎)
Three chevrons
(Arabic: وكيل رقيب Wakil Raqib‎)
Four chevrons
(Arabic: رقيب Raqib‎)
Four chevrons with stripe
(Arabic: رقيب أول Raqib Awaal‎)
stripe
(Arabic: رئيس رقباء Rais Ruquba‎)

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^

ReferencesEdit

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  33. ^ a b c Military Balance 2005- page 135
  34. ^ Cite error: The named reference History was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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External linksEdit