Country Listing

Saudi Arabia Table of Contents

Saudi Arabia


Armed Forces: Consisted of army, navy, air force, and air defense force, plus Saudi Arabian National Guard, although latter primarily for internal security. Estimated strengths in 1992: army--73,000; navy--11,000, including 1,500 marines; air force-- 18,000; air defense force--4,000; national guard--55,000 active, 20,000 tribal levies. Four regular armed forces recruited volunteers; national guard used system of tribal levies.

Military Units: Army in 1992 included eight brigades--two armored, five mechanized, one airborne. Field artillery battalions and antiaircraft batteries (gun and missile) provided fire support. Navy deployed vessels in Persian Gulf and Red Sea, primarily from major bases at Al Jubayl and Jiddah. Air force had six fighter/ground-attack, five air defense, one reconnaissance, one early warning, three transport, and two helicopter squadrons. Air defense force had surface-to-air missile batteries.

Equipment: Most armor and other weaponry in army and national guard of United States manufacture. Naval vessels primarily from United States, France, and Germany. Navy had four Frenchmanufactured frigates and four United States-manufactured corvettes, and attack craft (missile- and torpedo-armed). Combat aircraft mostly United States F-15s and F-5s, plus British Tornadoes.

Foreign Military Relations: Member of GCC. Special military relationship with United States since late 1940s. Many foreign corporations, particularly British, French, and United States, had contracts for supply of hardware, construction of military facilities, maintenance of equipment, and training of personnel.

Police: Police and security forces controlled by central government through Ministry of Interior. Saudi Arabian National Guard most prominent internal security force, subordinated directly to king. Coast Guard, Investigation, Special Security Force, and Public Security directorates operated under Ministry of Interior. Public Security Police, nationwide police force, and Frontier Force also under Ministry of Interior.

Paramilitary Forces: Saudi Arabian National Guard, Coast Guard, Frontier Force, and Special Security Force considered paramilitary.

Data as of December 1992