The defense is modernized and comprises 225,000 men
enlisted (2008). Saudi Arabia is building a 90-mile
protection zone against Iraq, mainly for terrorist reasons.
The army, 75,000 men, is organized into eight mechanized and
one airborne brigade with about 900 modern or semi-modern
tanks. The Navy, 15,500 men, has 15 larger battleships and
65 patrol boats as well as a Navy infantry regiment. The Air
Force, 18,000 men, has 280 modern fighter aircraft and
discusses the purchase of i.e. Euro fighter aircraft. The
National Guard, which is directly under the King, amounts to
75,000 active men and 25,000 men in reserve. Semi-military
security forces amount to 15,000 men. The material is modern
and of Western origin. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SAU stands for Saudi Arabia.
Defense costs decreased in 1985-2005 from 19.6% to 8.2%
of GDP. During the 1991 Kuwait War, defense costs amounted
to 32.5% of GDP. The United States had military forces of
5,000 men, Britain 200 men and France 130 men stationed in
Saudi Arabia for a long time after the war. In 2008, there
were no foreign associations on the territory of Saudi
Arabia other than a 300-member US staff function. A force of
22,000 men is organized in a number of neighboring countries
as a defense preparation (GCC, Peninsula Shield). The extent
of this strength may increase.
Saudi Arabia's defense overview
Saudi Arabia has close military relations with France,
the United Kingdom and the United States, and is a leading
member of the Gulf Council. Military service is voluntary.
The total force figures for Saudi Arabia's armed forces are
227,000 active personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, about
24,500 semi-military, including 15,000 border guards and
about 9,000 personnel in a security force.
In 2018, the United States had a base of 500 personnel in
Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt,
Jordan, Kuwait and Sudan had personnel and fighter planes in
Saudi Arabia in 2018 in connection with Operation
The army has a workforce of 75,000 active personnel.
Materials include 900 tanks (390 M60, 140 AMX-30 and 370
M1A2 Abrams), 300 reconnaissance vehicles, 760 armored
vehicles, 1,340 armored personnel carriers, 290 armored
fighters, 224 self-propelled artillery and 114 helicopters,
of which 35 gunships central Apache. In addition, the army
has heavy artillery, and short range air defense missiles.
The National Guard has a workforce of 100,000 active
personnel. Materials include 204 clearing vehicles, 640
storm tanks, 808 armored personnel vehicles, 182 armored
fighters, 162 self-propelled artillery (including 30
self-propelled artillery), and 55 helicopters, of which 12
Apache type helicopters. In addition, the National Guard has
The Air Force has a workforce of 20,000 active personnel.
Material comprising 81 fighters of a F-15 Eagle, 252 combat
aircraft (114 F-15SA Eagle, 67 Tornado IDS and 71 Typhoon),
seven AEW & C-plane, two ELINT aircraft, about 14
reconnaissance, 22 tanker, about 47 transport aircraft, 181
training aircraft (of which 62 Hawk which can and can be
used as light fighter aircraft), and 45 helicopters. The Air
Force also has medium and heavy drones. In addition, the
Royal Navy has 24 transport aircraft and about three
Air defense command
The Air Force Command has a personnel force of 16,000
active personnel. Materials include long range air defense
missiles, light air defense artillery and self-propelled air
The Navy has a workforce of 13,500 active personnel,
including 3,000 Marines. The fleet includes three fighters,
four frigates, four corvettes, 28 patrol vessels, three
minesweepers, five landings, and two utility and auxiliary
vessels. In addition, the Navy has 46 helicopters.
Saudi Arabia had 1,500 personnel in 2018, including tanks
and air defense missile batteries in Yemen (Operation
Restoring Hope) and six fighter aircraft in Turkey (Operation