Saudi Arabian army
|Royal Saudi Land Forces|
|Active||1745 (as an independent service arm)|
|Branch||Royal Armed Forces (since 1902)|
|Anniversaries||January 13; (116 years ago)|
|General Fayyadh Al Ruwaili|
|Lt. Gen. Fahd al Mutair|
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.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 Main equipment
- 4 Royal Saudi Land Forces ranks
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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 was founded as the Royal Saudi Land Forces, and is the oldest branch of the KSA's military.
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.
Saudi Arabia's armed forces suffer severe difficulties due to their over-reliance on foreign contractor support and unwillingness to conduct realistic training. Much very modern equipment is not properly understood or used.
First Saudi State (1745–1818)
- Battle of Riyadh (1746)[nb 1]
- Battle of Al-Hayer (1764)
- Battle of ghrimeel (1789)
- Ibn Ufaisan's Invasion (1793)
- Invasion of Qatar (1793–1798)
- Battle of Khakeekera (1801)
- Ottoman–Saudi War (1811–1818)
Saudi State (1818–1891)
- Rebellion against Egypt Eyalet (1821–1824)
- Saudi Civil War (1865–1875)
- Al-Hasa Expedition (1870–1871)
- Battle of Arwa (1883) (1883)
- Battle of Mulayda (1891)
The Unification of Saudi Arabia (1902–1933)
- Battle of Riyadh (1902)
- Battle of Dilam (1903)
- First Saudi–Rashidi War (1903–1907)
- Battle of Hadia (1910)
- Conquest of al-Hasa (1913)
- Battle of Jarrab (1915)
Battle of Kinzaan (1915)
- First Saudi–Hashemite War (1918–1919)
- Kuwait-Saudi War (1919–1920)
- Second Saudi–Rashidi War (1921)
- Saudi-Transjordan War (1922)
- Second Saudi-Hashemite War (1924–1925)
- Ikhwan Revolt (1927–1930)
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1933–present)
- Saudi–Yemeni War (1934)
- 1948 Arab–Israeli War more than 3,000 Saudi troops participated in combat against Israel.
- 1967 RSLF deployed over 20,000 troops in Jordan.
- 1969 Al-Wadiah War. South Yemeni Forces invaded Al-Wadiah, a Saudi town, but later were defeated by the Saudi Army.
- 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, Saudi Arabia airlifted a light armored battalion of Panhard AML-90s and 3,000 troops to Syria four days after the conflict began. The Saudi expeditionary forces participated in a number of relatively minor clashes with the IDF between October 16-19, mostly in concert with the Jordanian 40th Armored Brigade.
- 1979 Grand Mosque seizure. The Saudi army and SANG, together with Pakistani and French commandoes, reclaimed the mosque from extremist insurgents.
- Gulf War (1990–91) Together with the allied forces, the Saudi army and SANG played a major part in the Battle of Khafji and the Liberation of Kuwait.
- 2007–10 Houthi Insurgency. Yemeni Houthis attacked southern Saudi Arabia and were defeated by the Saudi army.
- 2015 Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen at the request of the Yemeni president to repel Houthi rebels allied with the deposed Ali Abdullah Saleh, as part of the Yemeni Civil War (2015).
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- five artillery battalions
- 1st Aviation Group
- 2nd Aviation Group
- 3rd Aviation Group
- 4th Aviation Group
The separate Royal Guard Regiment consists of four light infantry battalions.
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Note that figures below do not include war losses due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
Grenade, rocket, anti-tank, and missile systems
|M203||United States||Grenade launcher||40×46mm SR|
|AGS-30||Russia||Automatic grenade launcher||40×46mm||Manufactured by Saudi Arabian Military Industries|
|Portable anti-tank weapons|
|C90-CR (M3)||Spain||Rocket-propelled grenade||90mm|
|9M133 Kornet|| Russia
|Anti-tank guided missile||Tandem HEAT||Manufactured by Saudi Arabian Military Industries|
|FGM-148 Javelin||United States||Medium-range Anti-tank guided missile||127mm||Standard infantry AT weapon. 20 launchers and 150 missiles|
|MBT LAW|| United Kingdom
|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|
|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|
|United States||Anti-tank missile||150mm||Standard Issue to Saudi Arabian Army.|
|M224 mortar||United States||Lightweight mortar||60mm|
|Brandt Mle CM60A1||France||Gun-mortar||60mm|
|2R2M 120MM|| United States
|Heavy mortar||120mm||Used On M113 APC.|
|MO-120-RT-61 120mm||France||Heavy mortar||120mm|
|M30 mortar||United States||Heavy mortar||106mm|
|M1 Abrams||United States||M1A2S||422||Saudi Arabia bought 373 M1A2 tanks, with further 69 more M1A2S tanks ordered on 8 January 2013 and delivered by 31 July 2014. Later Saudi Arabia decided to upgrade all of M1A2 variants to M1A2S configuration. 153 M1A2S on order since Aug 9, 2016 20 were lost in Yemen|
|M60 Patton||United States||M60A3||390||1,300 were acquired|
|M2 Bradley||United States||M2A2||400||Principal IFV of the Saudi Army.|
|AMX-10P||France||293||500 were bought from France in 1974; most are now stored as a reserve.|
|HMMWV||United States||Various configurations||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|
|Didgori Medevac||Georgia||Armored medical evacuation vehicle||100+||Saudi Arabia ordered 100+ Didgori Medevac from Georgia in 2016.|
|CUCV II||United States||200+|
Artillery and missile systems
|M270||United States||MRL 270mm||50|
|Astros II MLRS||Brazil||MRL 127mm||SS-30||72|
|PLZ-45||China||Self-propelled howitzer 155mm||54|
|M109 howitzer||United States||Self-propelled howitzer 155mm||M109A5
|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|
|M101 howitzer||United States||Towed howitzer 105mm||M101A1||800||All are stored in reserve.|
|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||Canada||Miniature UAV||10|
|Saqr,2,3,4||Saudi Arabia||Unmanned aerial vehicle||?||?|
|CAIG Wing Loong||China||MALE
Wing Loong II
|Denel Dynamics Seeker|| South Africa
|EMT Luna X-2000|| Germany
|Unmanned aerial vehicle||?||?|
|Selex ES Falco||Italy||Unmanned aerial vehicle||?||?|
- (Anti-Air systems belong to Air Defense Force)
Royal Saudi Land Forces ranks
Land officer corps
|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
Land enlisted corps
|Junior enlisted||Non-commissioned officers (NCOs)||Warrant officers (WOs)|
|First class private
(Arabic: جندي Jundi)
(Arabic: جندي أول Jundi Awaal)
(Arabic: عريف Areef)
(Arabic: وكيل رقيب Wakil Raqib)
(Arabic: رقيب Raqib)
|Four chevrons with stripe
(Arabic: رقيب أول Raqib Awaal)
(Arabic: رئيس رقباء Rais Ruquba)
- Military of Saudi Arabia
- Royal Saudi Air Force
- Royal Saudi Navy
- Royal Saudi Air Defense
- Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force
- Saudi Arabian National Guard
- Saudi Royal Guard Regiment
- King Khalid Military City
- Saudi Arabia
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