Royal Saudi Navy

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Royal Saudi Arabian Navy
Founded As early as May 1796;[1]
Country  Saudi Arabia[nb 1]
Allegiance Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Branch Saudi Arabian Armed Forces (as of 1913)
Type Navy
Size 60,000 Officers & sailors
12,500 Royal Marines (2015 est.)
300+ ships & 50+ aircraft (2016 est.)[2]
Part of
  • MODA (as of 1957)
    JSP (as of 1926)
  • MOWA (1823– 1891)
Headquarters King Rd, Al Wazarat, Riyadh
Nickname(s) RSNF
Anniversaries 1 June;(104 years ago)
Decorations Navy Medal 2st Class SA.png
Minister of Defense
Prince Mohammad Al Saud
Chief of Joint Staff
General Abdul Rahman Al Banyan
Commander of the Royal Navy
Vice Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan
Ensign Naval Ensign of Saudi Arabia.svg
Jack Naval Jack of Saudi Arabia.svg
Naval base flag Naval base flag of the Royal Saudi Navy.svg

The Royal Saudi Navy, sometimes referred to as the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF), is the naval force of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Navy has more than 60,000 officers and men, including Marines. The Naval headquarters is in Riyadh. The Western Fleet is based in the Red Sea with the main base at Jeddah. The Eastern Fleet is based in the Persian Gulf with headquarters at Jubail. Other naval facilities were located at Yanbu, Dammam, and Ras Mishab.


The modern Saudi Arabian navy was founded in 1957[10][11] and began a significant expansion with United States assistance in 1972 aiming to match the Imperial Iranian Navy. Following the Iranian Revolution a further expansion programme, Sawari, was initiated with French assistance. Further vessels were purchased from Britain and France in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1980, U.S. defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation began work with the Royal Saudi Navy to design and integrate the country's own command, control, and communications (C3) centers.[12]


The navy is a modern force with foreign built ships:

HMS Makkah
King Abdul-Aziz Naval Base in Jubail, home to the eastern fleet of the Royal Saudi Navy


Three Al Riyadh-class frigates are modified versions of the La Fayette-class frigate (built by DCN, Lorient). Each has a fully loaded displacement of 4,725 tons, and is armed with eight MBDA Exocet MM40 Block II surface-to-surface missiles (SSM), two eight-cell Sylver vertical launch systems for the Eurosam (MBDA and Thales) Aster 15 surface-to-air missile (SAM), an Oto Melara 76 mm/62 Super Rapid gun, and four 533 mm aft torpedo tubes. The ships are armed with the DCNS F17 heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo. The helicopter deck at the stern has a single landing spot for a medium size helicopter, such as the Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin or the larger AS 532 Cougar or NH90 helicopters.

  • 812 Al Riyadh (2002)
  • 814 Makkah (2003)
  • 816 Dammam (2004)

Four Al Madinah-class frigates based in the Red Sea, built in France (Arsenal de Marine, Lorient (French Government Dockyard and CNIM, La Seyne) in the mid-1980s. Their full load displacement is 2,610 tons and they are armed with eight Otomat surface-to-surface missiles, one 8-cell Crotale surface-to-air missile launcher (26 missiles total), one 100 mm/44 dual purpose gun, two 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, four torpedo tubes, an aft helicopter deck and hangar; one Dauphin helicopter.

  • 702 Al Madinah (1985)
  • 704 Hofouf (1985)
  • 706 Abha (1986)
  • 708 Taif (1986)

It was believed the Saudis intended to order two new British-built Type 45 destroyers,[13] however production of the destroyers came to an end with no order made. Another destroyer that the Saudis are considering is the American built Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, having been briefed by the US Navy in May 2011 on the acquisition of two destroyers in a package that also includes an unknown number of Littoral Combat Ships.[14]


4 Badr-class corvettes built in the United States in 1981–83, based in the Persian Gulf, full load displacement of 1,038 tons, armament of eight Harpoon SSM, one 76 mm OTO Melara DP gun, one 20 mm Phalanx CIWS, two 20 mm guns, one 81 mm mortar, two 40 mm grenade launchers, two triple 12.75 inch torpedo tubes

  • 612 Badr (1981)
  • 614 Al-Yarmook (1982)
  • 616 Hitteen (1982)
  • 618 Tabuk (1983)

Patrol boats[edit]

Missile patrol boat Oqbah (525)
The gunboat Faisal

9 Al Sadiq-class patrol boats built in the United States (Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) 1972–1980, full load displacement of 495 tons, armed with four Harpoon SSM, one 76 mm OTO gun, one 20 mm Phalanx CIWS, two 20 mm guns, one 81 mm mortar, two 40 mm grenade launchers, two triple 12.75 inch torpedo tubes

  • 511 As-Siddiq (الصّدّيق) (1980)
  • 513 Al-Farouq (1981) (الفاروق)
  • 515 Abdul-Aziz (1981)
  • 517 Faisal (1981)
  • 519 Khalid (1982)
  • 521 Amr (1982)
  • 523 Tariq (1982)
  • 525 Ouqbah (1982) (عُقبه)
  • 527 Abu Obaidah (1982) (أبو عُبيده)
  • Possible sale of 30 Mark V Special Operations Craft[15][needs update?]


3 Sandown-class minehunters (built by Vosper Thornycroft, Woolston), full load displacement of 480 tons:

  • 420 Al Jawf (1991)
  • 422 Shaqra (1993)
  • 424 Al Kharj (1994)

Support vessels[edit]

2 French built Boraida-class replenishment oilers (modified Durance-class replenishment ships built by CN la Ciotat, Marseilles), with a helicopter deck aft and hangars for 2 helicopters.

  • 902 Boraida (1984)
  • 904 Yunbou (1985)


Many smaller patrol craft, two Danish-built royal yachts

  • Prince Abdul Aziz (1983–84) – built by Helsingør Værft
  • Al Yamana (Built for Iraq 1981; entered service in Saudi Arabia in 1988)

Naval aviation[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Sikorsky MH-60R  USA ASW/ASuW Helicopter 10 Ordered May 2015 – armed with Hellfire missiles
AS332 Super Puma  FRA ASW helicopter B1, M1, F1S1, F1S2 20
AS565 SA Dauphin  FRA SAR helicopter 24
P-8 Poseidon  USA Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft P-8A Poseidon 3 Boeing announced it had signed several defense and commercial agreements with Saudi Arabia and intends to order Chinook helicopters and P-8 reconnaissance aircraft.[16][17]


Germany will supply 48 patrol boats to Saudi Arabia within the framework of its border security project, a cost of 1.5 billion euros has been noted for this deal. Lürssen, has already started building 15 patrol vessels for the project's first phase. The patrol boats to be procured under the current contract come in two forms. The first are the 'TNC 35' models, which are 35-meter-long and are propelled by two diesel engines with a combined output of 7,800 kilowatts. The boat can reach speeds of up to 40 knots. The second models, 'FPB 38' are 38-meter-long and can reach speeds of up to 31 knots. As of November 2016 1 TNC 35 has been delivered to Saudi Arabia.[18]

Saudi Arabia wants to buy five German submarines for around €2.5 billion ($3.4 billion) and more than two dozen more in the future.[19]

In December 2014, the U.S. awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for a Foreign Military Sale of the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System to Saudi Arabia. With no surface ships compatible with the Mk 41 and no plans to acquire a land-based missile defense system, this indicates the country is close to purchasing a VLS-equipped surface combatant. Saudi Arabia has evaluated the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the Multi-mission Combat Ship version of the Freedom-class littoral combat ship able to carry a VLS.[20] In October 2015, the truth came as the US informed Congress of a possible sale of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships, a variant of the LCS.[21]


  • Jeddah – Red Sea base home to the navy's Western fleet for frigates and 2 missile boats, 1 replenishing ship and 1 patrol minesweeper; located north of the King Faisal Naval Base air station and south of the container port area
  • Jubail – Persian Gulf base is home to the navy's Eastern fleet; smaller base home to corvettes, replenishing ship remaining missile boats and minesweepers
  • Dammam – Persian Gulf home port for the Saudi Royal family's two Royal Yachts


  • Ensign (Arabic: ملازم)
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade (Arabic: ملازم أول)
  • Lieutenant (Arabic: نقيب)
  • Lieutenant-Commander (Arabic: رائد)
  • Commander (Arabic: مقدم)
  • Captain (Arabic: عقيد)
  • Commodore (Arabic: عميد)
  • Rear-Admiral (Arabic: لواء)
  • Vice-Admiral (Arabic: فريق)
  • Admiral (Arabic: فريق أول)
  • Private (Arabic: جندي)
  • First Class Private (Arabic: جندي أول)
  • Corporal (Arabic: عريف)
  • Vice Sergeant (Arabic: وكيل رقيب)
  • Sergeant (Arabic: رقيب)
  • First Class Sergeant (Arabic: رقيب أول)
  • Master Sergeant (Arabic: رئيس رقباء)


On 30 January 2017 HMS Al-Madinah was attacked by Houthi rebels using a suicide boat, killing 2 sailors and wounding 3 others.[22] The attack took place near the port city of Al Hudaydah, 150 kilometers southwest of the Yemeni capital Sana'a.


  1. ^


  1. ^ "Bahrain – McGill School of Computer Science". 
  2. ^ "Military Power World". 
  3. ^ United Nations Operation In Somalia
  4. ^ Saudi Gazette. "Saudi Gazette". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Saudi Vessel Helps Thwart Attack on Turkish Ship". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Anti-pirates success story: Saudis chase off attackers of cargo ship". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Saudi Gazette. "Navy sinks 2 infiltrator vessels". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Zuhur, Sherifa (2011). Saudi Arabia. ABC-CLIO. p. 434. ISBN 9781598845716. 
  11. ^ Gray, Matthew (2014). Global Security Watch—Saudi Arabia. ABC-CLIO. p. 41. ISBN 9780313387005. 
  12. ^ Dr. J. Robert Beyster with Peter Economy, The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company, John Wiley & Sons (2007) p. 49
  13. ^ The Independent, "UK seeks £2bn Saudi destroyer contract" By Michael Harrison, 9 March 2007
  14. ^ Defense News, "Saudi Arabia Mulling BMD-Capable Destroyers" By Christopher P. Cavas , 13 June 2011
  15. ^ "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Mark V Patrol Boats". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Anthony Capaccio (21 May 2017). "Corporate A-Listers Descend on Riyadh for Trump's CEO Summit". bloomberg. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "Boeing Co signs defense, commercial deals with Saudi Arabia". reuters. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Report: Saudi Arabia Eyes Buying German Submarines". Defense News. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  20. ^ FMS of MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems May Indicate Purchase of LCS or DDG by Saudi Arabia –, 18 December 2014
  21. ^
  22. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (6 February 2017). "Video emerges of suicide boat ramming Saudi frigate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 


  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995

External links[edit]