The naval force of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known as the Royal Saudi Navy or the Royal Saudi Naval forces or RSNF. The Royal Saudi Navy came into existence in 1950 and it now consists of a total of about 20,000 naval personnel which includes a total of about 3,000 marines. The main base of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces is based at Jeddah with the western fleet based in Red Sea and the naval headquarters of the Royal Saudi Navy is at Riyadh. The headquarters of the eastern fleet is at Jubail and the fleet is based at the Persian Gulf. The Royal Saudi Naval Forces is the naval unit of the Saudi Arabia Armed Forces and it main role in the Saudi Arabia armed forces is maritime warfare. Some of the important world events in which the Royal Saudi Naval Forces took part are the Gulf War, The Indo-Pak War of 1971, Operation Restore Hope and Sa’dah Insurgency.
History of Royal Saudi Navy
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces was founded in the year 1950 and it was until the United States decided to help in the expansion of the Saudi Arabian Navy in 1972 that the RSNF saw rapid changes in naval development. The aim of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces was to get into the big league and to create a naval force that matched the Iranian Navy.
The evolution of the naval forces as a protective force in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea goes back to 1974 when the Saudi Naval Expansion Program (SNEP) was pioneered with the help of the United States government. Antecedently, the naval forces had just a few outdated patrol boats, utility boats and landing crafts. Between 1980 and 1983, the U.S. government provided 4 PCG-1 corvettes, all equipped with eight Harpoon anti-ship projectiles besides six torpedo tubes. Nine express attack craft, also rendered in the early eighties, were likewise weaponed with Harpoon missiles. The chief combat ships of the Royal Saudi Navy comprised of four French F-2000 frigates (2,870 tons) authorized in 1985 and 1986, each built up with a Dauphin helicopter, 8 Otomat anti-ship projectiles featuring an ambit of one hundred sixty kilometers, torpedo tubes, and one 100 mm gun. The Sawari I program demanded the legal transfer of four F2000S multirole frigates and two supplementary replacement watercrafts to the Royal Saudi Arabian naval forces over a seven year plan, including logistic assistance for seventeen years was accomplished inside the specified time and budget and the ships have been in working order since 1988. The Company not only configured, formulated and incorporated the armed combat system, but as well arranged for the command faculty necessity for the Royal Saudi naval forces. The Company catered all the logistic assistance, and also autographed a contract for a major inspection and repair and modernization program. In the same contract with French Republic were 2 logistic assistance ships, 24 Dauphin choppers, most armed with AS-15 anti-ship missiles, and back up plans for training and sustainment.
The large arms agreement with Great Britain in 1988 ensued in an undertake agreement for 3 Sandown-class minesweepers to be deported between 1991 and 1993. The Sandown grade Single Role Mine hunters (SRMHs) are the current mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) in commission with the Royal Saudi Arabia naval forces and are manufactured to complement the Holman Hunt Class mine countermeasures watercrafts. As a consequence of knowledge acquired during the construction of the Hunt Class MCMVs, Vosper Thornycroft (United Kingdom) limited company was called for to blueprint the SRMH. The consequence is the Sandown Class Mine hunter of which 3 SRMH editions are in commission with the Royal Saudi Arabian Naval Forces. Discussions had been held with French Republic and additional commonwealths for the issue of up to 8 submarines. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only engages small submarines and swimmer delivery vessels for their commando specialized operations. The badge was excised to represent the armed forces distinctiveness. The Ministry of Defense in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is essaying to lay a purchase order with Federal Republic of Germany for maritime submarines. Submarine training is accomplished outside of the nation.
The naval personnel department force, which was less than a thousand in 1974, had extended to 9,500 by 1991, including 1,500 marines. The marines were orchestrated as an infantry regiment and were outfitted with one hundred forty armored vehicles of Spanish manufacture. It was rumored in 1991 that an elaboration of the Marine Corps was mulled over and fresh inventory necessities were being developed. The principal naval home base was situated at Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The naval forces were formed into the Western Fleet, with central office at Jeddah on the Red Sea, and the Eastern Fleet, with main office at Al Jubal on the Persian Gulf. All four frigates that were in the possession of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces were grounded in the Red Sea and the 4 corvettes in the Persian Gulf. Other naval installations were situated at Yanbu, Ras al Mishab and Ad Dammam. The port of Ad Dammam had a big armed services oceanic terminus that proved amply capable of handling United States and additional freights during the work up leading to the Persian Gulf War. The two primary bases at Jeddah and Al Jubal were built under SNEP. They were alike to the armed services cities of the ground forces, with toughened instruction centers, family living accommodations, schools, masjids, shopping malls, and recreational facilities for naval force and their families, besides sustenance, logistics, and disciplining installations.
The frigate Makkah assembled by DCN’s Lorient shipyard for the Royal Saudi navy was set in motion during a ceremonial occasion attended by French and Saudi officials on 20th July 2001. The watercraft was lmoved to a specialized berth for final examination preceding to harbor acceptance examinations. The Makkah was scheduled for delivery in the 2nd quarter of 2003. The Sawari II declaration contracted by French Republic and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 19 November 1994 calls for the obstetrical delivery of 3 frigates: The 1st, Al Riyadh, was established on 1 August 2000. Harbor acceptance tests were scheduled to commence in September 2001. The 2nd, the Makkah, was set in motion on 20 July. The 3rd, Al Damman, was assembled in the dry-docks emptied by the Makkah on 20 July. Alike its predecessors, the Al Damman was put together from pre-outfitted hull cubes. The Sawari II contract admits services arraying from logistic assistance to the grooming of crews and engineers, and the construction of a training centre. Thales is premier contractor for the Sawari II program and DCN the naval designer for all 3 ships. The main industrial better half is DCN/DCN International for the platforms and actuation systems and SFCS, an associated subordinate of DCN and Thales, for the armed combat systems. The Sawari II vessels are based on DCN’s extremely booming La Fayette-class stealth frigates. They have a general length of 133 meters and a beam of seventeen meters for a shift of 4,500 tons. The Sawari II frigates have highly-automated armed combat management systems acquired collectively by Thales and DCN and established on the CMS formulated for the French naval forces La Fayette-class frigates. Their advanced armed combat systems include the SAAM naval self-protection system constituting an Arabel fire-control radar and Aster fifteen projectiles.
On 14 June 2000, the defense force Security Cooperation government agency apprised Congress of a potential Foreign Military cut-rate sale of equipment and services to raise the Royal Saudi Arabian Naval Forces Command, Control and Communications System. The Government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia quested a conceivable sale of United States government and contractor orchestrating, technological and logistics services in the evolution and execution of an all-encompassing ten year plan for the upgrade, growth, functioning and sustainment program, and system add-ons to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces Command, Control, and Communications (C3) System. The system add-ons will admit, but are not bounded to, initiation of commercial message link and mobile communication systems. The forecast monetary value was $257 million. This proposed sales agreement would chip in to the foreign policy and internal security of the United States government by assisting to amend the security measures of a congenial country which has been and carries on to be a vital force for policy-making stableness and economic advancement in the Middle East. The RSNF requires the equipment and helps in order to overhaul and raise an aging C3 scheme that was offered during the historic period of 1974 through 2000. The program, which would render commercially useable equipment, stuff and services, will importantly heighten interoperability with United States., NATO and other Saudi armed forces functioning in the region. The proposed sale of this equipment and backing would not dissemble the primary armed services balance in the area. The chief contractors would be Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego, Booz, Allen, and Hamilton and PE Systems of Alexandria. There were no offset arrangements purported in association with this possible sales agreement.
Royal Saudi Navy Present
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces with its headquarters in Riyadh is under the overall command of Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Dakheel-Allah Bin Ahmad Al-Wakadani. The Royal Sadi Navy comprises of a host of modern foreign built ships ranging from the US built corvettes to French built frigates to British built mine hunters. Jeddah is the Red Sea base home of the naval forces Western fleet which houses frigates and two projectile boats, 1 refilling ship and a patrol minesweeper; sited due north of the King Faisal Naval Base air station and to the south of the container port area. The smaller base home to corvettes, replenishing ship left over projectile boats and minesweepers on the Persian Gulf is Jubal, the Saudi naval forces Eastern fleet home. Dammam is the Persian Gulf home base port for the Saudi Arabian Royal family’s two Royal Yachts.
Three Al Riyadh class frigates are altered editions of the La Fayette class frigate constructed by DCN, Lorient and possess an amply loaded displacement of 4,725 tons and are equipped with 8 MBDA Exocet MM40 Block II surface-to-surface projectiles, two eight-cell Sylver vertical launching systems for the Eurosam Aster 15 SAM, the chief gun is the Oto Melara seventy-six/sixty-two Super Rapid. There are also four 533 mm aft torpedo tubing. The ships are equipped with the DCNS F17 colossus defensive torpedo. The chopper deck at the tail has an exclusive downing spot for a medium sized helicopter, like the Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin or the bigger AS 532 Cougar or NH90 choppers. Four Al Medinah class frigates ships grounded in the Red Sea, constructed in France in mid eighties, full load displacement of 2,610 tons, built up with eight Otomat SSM, 1 8-cell Crotale surface-to-air missile, 1 100 mm/44 DP, 2 40 millimeter AA, four bomber tubes, abaft chopper deck and repair shed; 1 Dauphin helicopter. It was thought the Saudis were committed to arrange two Modern British-built Type 45 Destroyers, nevertheless yield of the guided missile destroyers is now hitting an end and no order has been fixed. Another Destroyer that the Saudi Arabians are looking at is the American assembled Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, having got briefed by the United States Navy in May, 2011 on the acquirement of two Destroyers in a bundle that includes an alien number of Littoral Combat Ships.
A total of four Badr class corvettes manufactured by the United States is based at the Persian Gulf which has a full load displacement of 1,038 tons, two triple torpedo tubes, 8 harpoon surface to surface missiles, two forty millimeter grenade launchers and the corvettes are named as 612 Badr, 614 Al- Yarmook, 616 Hitteen and 618 Tabuk. Apart from the frigates and the corvettes, the Royal Saudi Naval Forces also have nine Sadiq class patrol boats that were commissioned in the United States, three Sandown class mine hunters as well as two French made Boraida class small replacement support vessels and oilers. A total of 12 AS532 U2 Cougar medium transport helicopters and 24 Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin SAR helicopters are also in the possession of the naval aviation of the RSNF.
Royal Saudi Navy Future
One of the main aims of the Royal Saudi Naval force is to counter the threat of the Iranian forces at all costs and the Saudi armed forces are prepared to go every extent to protect their motherland. The threat from the Iranian forces is through their ballistic missiles and hence there are rumors in the air that the Saudi navy is contemplating on buying two US Arleigh Burke AAW (BMD capable) destroyers, may be new ones or even second hand ones. There are also plans to replace four aging All Medinah frigates with three or four new frigate through the Sawari III program and this contract will be with the French Republic. The 3 or 4 new FREMM frigates are expected to be delivered by 2015 or 2020. A total of about 13 ageing corvettes are going to be replaced with about 10 to 12 new corvettes and with this a massive fleet comprising of all the modern vessels will be waiting in the bases ready for attack by the end of 2020.
The Saudi Arabian navy which used to rely earlier heavily on the United States for its fleet is now relying on the United States for its smaller weapon systems. Saudi Navy is relying on French support for its larger ships and vessels now. The Jubail base is now considered to be the second largest naval base in the Gulf and the Saudi Naval forces are slowly improving on their exercise performance and are carrying out joint combat exercises with the British, Egyptian as well as the United States navies. Saudi Arabia is in the middle of a major artillery upgrade for its armed forces. The Saudi Arabian Naval Expansion Program II is pronounced to be deliberating the purchase of up to twelve new combat ships worth between $20 billion and $23 billion. Saudis are also thinking of purchasing 2 guided missile destroyers plus an unknown amount of LCS watercrafts. Acquirement of Aegis BMD will allow the Saudi Arabian naval forces with an appreciable anti-missile capability, perhaps in overabundance of any other gulf-region nation. Saudi Arabia is contemplating the acquirement of fresh DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers that may be equipped with ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a staunch United States friend in the Middle East, is reportedly looking for upgrade of its navy and is on the hunt for the sort of ship that could guard the kingdom against an emergent terror across the Persian Gulf. The Saudis, like nations lined up in the Middle East with the U.S.A., are worried about a couple of affairs and the primary one is Iran’s missile programs. So, the kingdom is looking at investing billions of dollars on modernizing its naval forces. At the essence of its rumored wish list, is a ship with A-one missile defense system that will protect Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should Islamic Republic of Iran one day choose to attack missiles at Saudi Arabia, it neighbor across the Persian Gulf. Hence, Saudi Arabian Naval Forces are getting ready to prepare for the worst situation that they feel might hit their kingdom anytime.