Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force

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Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force
Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force , official emblem.jpg
Founded 1987; 27 years ago (1987)
Country  Saudi Arabia
Branch Strategic Missile Force
Type Land Based Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Forces
Role Strategic Strike
Size >3,000
Part of Ministry of Defence and Aviation
Major General Jarallah Alaluwayt (Arabic: جار الله العلويط،)
Flag Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force , official emblem.jpg

The Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force (RSSMF) (Arabic: قوة الصواريخ الإستراتيجيه الملكية السعودية‎) is the fifth branch of the Saudi Armed Forces. The RSSMF formerly had its headquarters in an underground command facility in Riyadh . This facility coordinates Saudi Arabia advanced "Peace Shield" radar and air defense systems. In July 2013, the new RSSMF headquarters and academy buildings were opened officially by Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz and current RSSMF commander Major General Jarallah Alaluwayt.[1][2]

The main weapon of the RSSMF is the Chinese DF-3 (CSS-2) Dongfeng missile, which carries a conventional high-explosive warhead (2150 kg) and is a variant of the DongFeng 3A Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile. The missile has a maximum range of 2800km and was delivered following an order made by Saudi Arabia in 1987.[3] About 30~120 missiles and 9~12 transporter erector launchers (TEL) were reportedly delivered in 1988, though no known test-launch has been made in the country. Some sources suggest that the RSSMF will consider purchasing the advanced DF-21 ballistic missile from China in the future.[4]

The Strategic Missile Force has an underground ballistic missile base which was built in 2008 - Al-Watah ballistic missile base (found in satellite images)[5] - in the rocky central part of Saudi Arabia, some 200 km southwest of the capital city of Riyadh. It has a security perimeter with a checkpoint on the main road, as well as extensive storage and underground facilities. It also includes administrative buildings, two launch pads, a communications tower and seven gates leading to the underground facilities. Fortified depots for launchers lie behind the secondary checkpoint in the ravine area.

Two older bases: Al Sulayyil[6][7] and Al Jufayr have similar characteristics, suggesting that they share the same role. Al Jufayr lies approximately 90 km south of Riyadh, with Al Sulayyil approximately 450 km southwest of the capital. Each complex has two missile garrisons (one in the north and another in the south) with another area serving housing, maintenance and administrative functions. The garrisons themselves are located a short distance away within a secured complex. The administrative and support complexes are outside the security perimeter.

The RSSMF's role has grown rapidly since Saudi Arabia and other Arab States of the Persian Gulf announced in 2009 an initiative to obtain nuclear weapons as a countermeasure against the Iranian nuclear program. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, have mentioned this desire.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

Some experts speculate (taking into account Saudi Arabia’s financial contribution to Pakistan's nuclear weapons program) that Saudi Arabia may receive or has already received nuclear weapons from Pakistan. One report by the BBC says some hold "it is a cash-and-carry deal for warheads, the first of those options sketched out by the Saudis back in 2003; others that it is the second, an arrangement under which Pakistani nuclear forces could be deployed in the Kingdom."[13]


  1. ^ @ SaudiArmyNews "Arabic:المملكة العربية السعودية هي الدولة العربية الوحيدة التي من ضمن فروع قواتها المسلحة فرع رئيسي يسمى - Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country with the branch "Strategic Missile Force", Twitter @ SaudiArmyNews, July 2013.
  2. ^ "Arabic:قوة الصواريخ الإستراتيجية الملكية السعودية - The power of the Saudi royal strategic missiles". National Kuwait. July 2013. Archived from the original on 26 November 2013. 
  3. ^ SinoDefence "DongFeng 3 (CSS-2) Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile", 27 February 2009.
  4. ^ Jefrey Lewis - Arms Control Wonk. "Saudi Arabia’s Strategic Dyad" Arms Control Wonk , 15 July 2013.
  5. ^ Sean O'Connor - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. "Saudi ballistic missile site revealed", IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, 10 July 2013.
  6. ^ Ronen Bergman - GlobalSecurity Org. "Al Sulayyil Missile Base"
  7. ^ GlobalSecurity Org. photos "Imagery of Al Sulayyil Missile Base Launch Complex Area"
  8. ^ US embassy cables: Saudi official warns Gulf states may go nuclear [1], The Guardian, 28 November 2010.
  9. ^ Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran to stop the nuclear program. [2] The Guardian, 28 November 2010.
  10. ^ Riyadh will build nuclear weapons if Iran gets them, Saudi prince warns [3] The Guardian, 29 June 2011.
  11. ^ Dennis Ross: Saudi king vowed to obtain nuclear bomb after Iran [4] Haaretz, 30 May 2012.
  12. ^ King Says Saudi Arabia Would Need Nukes to Counter Iran Arsenal [5] The Nuclear Threat Initiative, 30 May 2012.
  13. ^ Mark Urban: Saudi nuclear weapons 'on order' from Pakistan [6] BBC News, 6 November 2013.

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