Royal Saudi Navy

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Royal Saudi Naval Force
البحرية السعودية
Royal Saudi Navy Logo.svg
Emblem of the Royal Saudi Navy
Founded1789 (historical)[1]
1960 (official)[2]
Country Saudi Arabia
RoleNaval warfare
Maritime defence
Size60,000 (2016 est.)[3][4]
Part ofRoyal Armed Forces
Parent agencyMinistry Of Defense[6]
Colors  Blue   white
Equipment7 Frigate 4 (u/c)
4 corvette 5 (u/c)
39 patrol vessel
3 Minehunter
2 support ship
2 royal yacht
EngagementsList of wars involving RSNF
DecorationsNavy Medal 2st Class SA.png
V. Admiral Fahd al-Ghofaily
SealRoyal Saudi Navy Seal.svg
EnsignNaval Ensign of Saudi Arabia.svg
JackNaval Jack of Saudi Arabia.svg
FlagNaval base flag of the Royal Saudi Navy.svg
PennantRoyal Saudi Navy commissioning pennant.svg
Aircraft flown
HelicopterAS332 Super Puma
Utility helicopterAS565 SA Dauphin
Sikorsky MH-60R
PatrolP-8 Poseidon

The Royal Saudi Navy (Arabic: البَحْريَّة الْمَلكيَّة السُّعُودِيَّة‎, romanizedAl-Quwwat al-Bahriyah al-Arabiyah as-Sa'udiyah) or Royal Saudi Naval Forces (Arabic: القُوَّات البَحْريَّة الْمَلكيَّة السُّعُودِيَّة‎, romanizedAl-Quwwat al-Bahriyah al-Malakiyah as-Sa'udiyah), is the maritime arm of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces and one of the five service branches of the Ministry of Defense of Saudi Arabia. Its primary role is monitoring and defending the Saudi territorial waters against military or economic intrusion, and participating in international naval alliances.

The Navy operates from multiple bases along the 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) Saudi coastline, with two fleets.

Each fleet has a full military capability including warships, support ships, administrative and technical support, naval aviation, marines and special security units.[7]


The Navy was founded in 1960[8][5] 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.[9]


The navy is a modern force with foreign built ships:


4 Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ordered by Royal Saudi Navy in 2019. The ship is derived from the Freedom-class littoral combat ship but with upgraded features. The deliveries of the MMSC will begin in June 2023.[10]

Photo Number Ship Builder Completed Status
USS-Freedom-130222-N-DR144-174-crop.jpg Marinette Marine On order
On order
On order
On order

3 Al Riyadh-class frigates are modified versions of the La Fayette-class frigate (built by DCN, Lorient).[11] 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.[11]

Photo Number Ship Builder Commissioned Status Namesake
Frigate Al Makkah.jpg
812 Al Riyadh DCN Lorient 2002 In active service Riyadh City
814 Makkah 2003 In active service Makkah City
816 Dammam 2004 In active service Dammam City

4 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.

Photo Number Ship Builder Completed Status
Royal Saudi Navy Al Madinah-class Frigate 2(1).jpg 702 Al Madinah Arsenal de Lorient 4 January 1985 In active service
704 Hofouf CNIM, La Seyne 31 October 1985 In active service
706 Abha 4 April 1986 In active service
708 Taif 29 August 1986 In active service

It was believed the Saudis intended to order two new British-built Type 45 destroyers,[12] 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.[13]


5 Avante-class corvettes ordered by Royal Saudi Navy in 2018. The corvettes built by Spanish company Navantia.

Photo Number Ship Builder Completed Status Namesake
PC-21 Guaiqueri 14 de Mayo 2011 Foto Capitán Ted.jpg 828 Al Jubail[14] Navantia Fitting out Al Jubail City
830 Al Diriyah[15] Fitting out Al Diriyah City
832 Hail[16] Launched Hail City
834 Jazan[17] Launched Jazan City
Unaizah On order Unaizah City

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.

Photo Number Ship Builder Completed Status
Saudi Arabian missile corvette Tabuk (618) underway during Operation Desert Shield.jpg 612 Badr Tacoma Boatbuilding 1981 In active service
614 Al Yarmook 1982 In active service
616 Hitteen 1982 In active service
618 Tabuk 1983 In active service

Patrol boats[edit]

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.

Photo Number Ship Builder Completed Status
As-Sadiq class missile boat Oqbah (525) of the Royal Saudi Navy.jpg
511 As-Siddiq (الصّدّيق) Peterson Builders 1980 In active service
513 Al-Farouq (الفاروق) 1981 In active service
515 Abdul-Aziz 1981 In active service
517 Faisal 1981 In active service
519 Khalid 1982 In active service
521 Amr 1982 In active service
523 Tariq 1982 In active service
525 Ouqbah 1982 In active service
527 Abu Obaidah 1982 In active service


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

Photo Number Ship Builder Completed Status
424 Al Kharj.jpg 420 Al Jawf Vosper Thornycroft 1991 In active service
422 Shaqra 1993 In active service
424 Al Kharj 1994 In active service

Support vessels[edit]

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

Photo Number Ship Builder Completed Status
Saudi Arabian replenishment oiler Boraida (902) underway in the Red Sea, in 1991.jpg 902 Boraida CN La Ciotat 1984 In active service
904 Yunbou 1985 In active service


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 6 Boeing announced it had signed several defense and commercial agreements with Saudi Arabia and intends to order Chinook helicopters and P-8 reconnaissance aircraft.[19][20]


The Royal Saudi Navy maintains two, 1,500-man marine brigades consisting of three battalions each. The brigades are assigned to the Western Fleet headquartered in Jeddah and the Eastern Fleet headquartered in Jubail. The brigades are equipped with 200 Pegaso BMR AFVs and HMMWVs.


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.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23] In October 2015, the US Congress was informed of a possible sale of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships, a variant of the LCS.[24]

In July 2018 it was announced that Navantia had signed an agreement with the Royal Saudi Navy for the production of 5 Avante 2000 Corvettes with the last to be delivered by 2022 at a cost of approximately 2 billion Euros.[25]


King Abdul-Aziz Naval Base in Jubail, home to the eastern fleet of the Royal Saudi Navy
  • Jeddah (Al-Qadima military port)– 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 (Ras Al-Ghar military port)[26] – Persian Gulf home port for the Saudi Royal family's two Royal Yachts


Officer ranks
Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Royal Saudi Navy[27]
Generic-Navy-O11.svg Generic-Navy-O10.svg Generic-Navy-O9.svg Generic-Navy-O8.svg Generic-Navy-O7.svg Generic-Navy-O5.svg Generic-Navy-O4.svg Generic-Navy-O3.svg Generic-Navy-O2.svg Generic-Navy-O1.svg
فريق أول‎‎
Fariq 'awal
ملازم أول
Mulazim awwal
Other ranks

The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Royal Saudi Navy[27]
رقيب أول
Raqib 'awal
وكيل رقيب
Wakil raqib
جندي أول
Jundiun awwal


On 30 January 2017 Al-Madinah was attacked by Houthi rebels using a suicide boat, killing 2 sailors and wounding 3 others.[28] The attack took place near the port city of Al Hudaydah, 150 kilometers southwest of the Yemeni capital Sana'a.


  1. ^ George Snavely Rentz (1948). The Beginnings of Unitarian Empire in Arabia. University of California, Berkeley. p. 213.
  2. ^ "Royal Saudi Naval Force". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Military Power World". Archived from the original on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Royal Saudi Naval Force".
  5. ^ a b Gray, Matthew (2014). Global Security Watch—Saudi Arabia. ABC-CLIO. p. 41. ISBN 9780313387005. Archived from the original on 3 November 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Bahrain – McGill School of Computer Science". Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  7. ^ "sdarabia". 3 August 2017.
  8. ^ Zuhur, Sherifa (2011). Saudi Arabia. ABC-CLIO. p. 434. ISBN 9781598845716. Archived from the original on 3 November 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ "Lockheed Inks 2 Billion Contract For Saudi Frigate". 20 December 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Al Riyadh (F3000S Sawari II) Class, Saudi Arabia". Archived from the original on 8 October 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  12. ^ The Independent Archived 26 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine, "UK seeks £2bn Saudi destroyer contract" By Michael Harrison, 9 March 2007
  13. ^ Defense News[dead link], "Saudi Arabia Mulling BMD-Capable Destroyers" By Christopher P. Cavas , 13 June 2011
  14. ^ "Saudi Arabia signs deal with Spanish firm for five warships". Arabian Business. 20 July 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  15. ^ Writer, DP Staff. "Navantia Launches Second Avante 2200 Corvette Al Diriyah For Royal Saudi Naval Forces". DefPost. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Navantia Launched 3rd Avante 2200 Corvette For Royal Saudi Navy". 29 March 2021.
  17. ^ "RSNF Commander Patronizes Ceremonial Launching of His Majesty's Ship "Jazan"".
  18. ^ "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Mark V Patrol Boats". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  19. ^ Anthony Capaccio (21 May 2017). "Corporate A-Listers Descend on Riyadh for Trump's CEO Summit". bloomberg. Archived from the original on 21 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Boeing Co signs defense, commercial deals with Saudi Arabia". reuters. 21 May 2017. Archived from the original on 21 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  21. ^ Ghazanfar Ali Khan (4 August 2016). "KSA set to get 48 German patrol boats". Arab News. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Report: Saudi Arabia Eyes Buying German Submarines". Defense News. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  23. ^ FMS of MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems May Indicate Purchase of LCS or DDG by Saudi Arabia Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine –, 18 December 2014
  24. ^ "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships" (Press release). Defense Security Cooperation Agency. 20 October 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  25. ^ "Saudi Arabia signs deal with Spanish firm for five warships". Arabian Business. 20 July 2018. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  26. ^ Cordesman, Anthony H. (20 May 2019). Saudi Arabia: Guarding The Desert Kingdom. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-429-96600-2.
  27. ^ a b Tartter, Jean R. (1993). "National Security". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Saudi Arabia: a country study. Area Handbook (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. pp. 270–271. LCCN 93028506. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  28. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (6 February 2017). "Video emerges of suicide boat ramming Saudi frigate". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2017.

See also[edit]


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