Title: Saudi Arabia Ministry of Defense and Aviation
Description: We're cool because we lump 'em together
Saudi Arabia (CSJ) - March 8, 2010 05:45 AM (GMT)
NEW MINISTERS APPOINTED
With the retirement of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz from all political offices, the Ministry of Defense and Aviation has undergone a brief reorganization in the upper echelons. New Crown Prince Abd al-Rhaman, former Deputy Minister, has, along with the title of Crown Prince, assumed Sultan's role as Defense Minister, with his former assistant, well-known Field Marshall Khalid bin Sultan advancing to fill his own former spot. The spot of Assistant Defense Minister, vacated by Khalid, has been filled by senior National Guard commander Mutaib bin Abdullah, leaving the new positions as follows:
Minister of Defense & Aviation: Crown Prince Abd al-Rahman bin Abdul Aziz (Replacing former Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz)
Deputy Minister of Defense & Aviaiton: Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz (Replacing former DMODA Abd al-Rahman)
Assistant Deputy Minister of Defense & Aviation: Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz (Replacing former ADMODA Khalid bin Sultan)
Saudi Arabia (CSJ) - March 8, 2010 07:04 AM (GMT)
Royal Saudi Land Forces 2020 Consolidation & Modernization Program Details Released
Under the long-term modernization program outlined by the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the Land Forces will undergo an extensive equipment upgrade program, as well as a reduction in the number of active brigades. Personnel numbers will only be somewhat reduced (to 140,000), with most of those freed by the reduction being used to fill holes in other units, bringing them up to proper strength levels.
Under the program, the front-line power of the Royal Saudi Land Forces will be provided by 4 armored and 8 motorized infantry brigades. As per previous organization, each brigade will be based around equipment from a specific supplier (or suppliers). This will include 4 American, 3 Russian, and 5 Franco-Korean brigades, under the following equipment and deployments:
King Khalid Military City, Al Batin
-4th Armored Brigade
-8th Armored Brigade
-6th Mechanized Brigade
-10th Mechanized Brigade
Each armored brigade will possess 3 armored battalions 2 armored companies, and 3 armored cavalry troops of M1A2S main battle tanks, 1 mechanized infantry battalion of M2A2 infantry fighting vehicles, a recon company of modern EBM/C reconnaissance units, an air defense battalion of Avenger PMSS, and an artillery battalion of M109A6 Paladin-IH artillery guns.
Total equipment per brigade: 168 M1A2S, 54 M2A2, 14 EBM/C-105, 24 Avenger, 18 M109A6
Each Mechanized brigade will possess 3 mechanized battalions with M2A2 infantry fighting vehicles, 2 assault companies and 3 cavalry troops with Al Fahd infantry combat vehicles, 1 armored battalion with M1A2S main battle tanks, a recon company, an air defense battalion, and an artillery battalion.
Total equipment per brigade: 42 M1A2S, 162 M2A2, 45 Al Fahd, 14 EBM/C-105, 24 Avenger, 18 M109A6
King Abdul Aziz Military City, Tabuk
-12th Armored Brigade
-8th Mechanized Brigade
-17th Mechanized Brigade
Ad-Dammam Military Base, Dammam
-11th Mechanized Brigade
-18th Mechanized Brigade
The 12th Armored will be equipped with 3 armored battalions 2 armored companies, and 3 armored cavalry troops of K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, 1 mechanized infantry company of K21 infantry fighting vehicles, a recon company of modern armed reconnaissance units (to be determined), an air defense battalion of as-yet undetermined units, and an artillery battalion of upgraded GCT AuF-2 artillery guns.
Total equipment: 168 K2 Black Panther, 54 K21, 14 EBM/C-105, 24 new ADS, 18 GCT
The 8th & 17th Mechanized will each have 3 mechanized battalions with K21 infantry fighting vehicles, 2 assault companies and 3 cavalry troops with VBCI infantry combat vehicles, 1 armored battalion with K2 main battle tanks, a recon company, an air defense battalion, and an artillery battalion.
Total equipment per brigade: 42 K2 Black Panther, 162 K21, 45 VBCI, 14 recon, 24 Avenger, 18 GCT
The 11th and 18th brigades will have the same organizational structure as the 8th and 17th, but replace all K21 units with additional VBCIs, leaving the following equipment per brigade: 42 K2 Black Panther, 207 VBCI, 14 EBM/C, 24 Avenger, 18 GCT
Khamis Mushayt Military Base, Khamis Mushayt
-45th Armored Brigade
-19th Mechanized Brigade
-20th Mechanized Brigade
The 4th Armored will follow the same organization of the Franco-Korean armored brigade, but with T-90S tanks instead of K2, BMP-3M IFVs instead of K21, and PLZ-45 artillery guns.
Total equipment per brigade: 168 T-90S, 54 BMP-3M, 14 EBM/C-105, 24 Pantsyr-SE, 18 PLZ-45.
Each Mechanized brigade will be organized the same as the Franco-Korean units, but with Russian hardwar, including the T-90S tank, BMP-3 IFV, BTR-90 infantry combat vehicle, and PLZ-45 artillery system.
Total equipment per brigade: 42 T-90S, 162 BMP-3M, 45 BTR-90M, 14 EBM/C, 24 Pantsyr-SE, 18 PLZ-45.
Three of the remaining 12 infantry brigades will be deactivated, leaving 9 remaining. Each will be equipped with assorted armored personnel carriers and M109A2 artillery weapons, and organized around 3 infantry battalions, 1 tank company, 2 cavalry companies, 1 reconnaissance company, and an artillery battalion.
Total equipment per brigade: 196 APCs, 14 M60A1, 14 EBM/C or AM-40-8-3, 18 M109A2
The airborn and artillery brigades will remain unchanged.
Saudi Arabia (CSJ) - March 12, 2010 08:38 AM (GMT)
Royal Saudi Air Force 2020 Consolidation & Modernization Program Details Released
Under the long-term modernization program outlined by the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the Air Forces will undergo an extensive equipment upgrade program, a personnel increase of 20%, a reduction in primary combat and transport aircraft, and an increase in tactical and support aircraft (helicopters).
Based on the program, the basic organization will remain largely unchanged, with all additional personnel to go to filling holes in support units. The RSAF deployments will be at the following 10 air bases:
King Faisal Air Base, Tabuk
-2nd Squadron (24 Eurofighter Typhoon )
-29th Squadron (24 Rafale)
-21st Squadron (12 new LIFT)
-37th Squadron (12 new LIFT)
-79th Squadron (12 new LIFT)
-88th Squadron (12 new LIFT)
By 2020, the King Faisal Air Base, representing the northwestern sector, will have none of the aircraft it operated in 2010. Its original 2 combat squadrons, one of F-15C/D and one of Tornado ADV aircraft will be replaced by Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale planes respectively. The advanced training units at the base will also receive new Lead-In Fighter Trainer aircraft of an as-yet undetermined design to replace the aging Hawk-65/65A aircraft, which will by then be 24-34 years old, and lack sufficient avionics to perform an advanced trainer role for modern aircraft.
King Abdullah Aziz Air Base, Dhahran
-13th Squadron (22 F-15SE)
-92nd Squadron (22 F-15S)
-34th Squadron (24 Eurofighter Typhoon)
-7th Squadron (20 Tornado IDS)
-66th Squadron (20 Tornado IDS)
-75th Squadron (20 Tornado IDS)
-83rd Squadron (20 Tornado IDS)
-35th Squadron (2 BAe Jetstream)
-44th Squadron (2 Bell 412EP)
In contrast to the King Faisal Air Base, the KAAAB will have almost no change in its 2010 composition. Having just undergone modernizations, the RSAF Tornado squadrons will remain in service until 2020, and their replacement only just starting to be delivered at the culmination of this modernization phase. The F-15S aircraft will also remain, though may be upgraded. The RSAF also has no plans to replace the Jetstreams in its transportation training squadron, or the Bell 412s in the support unit. While the F-15C/D aircraft of 13 Squadron will be replaced, that is only by an improved version based on the design. The only significant transition will be the F-5s of the 34th Squadron, which will be re-equipped with Eurofighters.
King Fahd Air Base, Taif
-5th Squadron (22 F-15SE)
-34th Squadron (23 F-15SE)
-10th Squadron (24 Eurofighter Typhoon)
-3rd Squadron (22 Rafale)
-14th Squadron (20 Mi-17)
Another base that is getting almost a complete overhal, the 10th Squadron was the first to transition to the Eurofighter Typhoon, and being the base for most of the RSAF F-15C/D and F-5 aircraft, all remaining combat squadrons will also be replaced. Even the AB-212 helicopters of the 12th Squadron will be replaced with incoming Mi-17 medium-lift birds.
King Khalid Air Base, Khamis Mushayt
-6th Squadron (24 F-15S)
-55th Squadron (24 F-15S)
-15th Squadron (22 Rafale)
-99th Squadron (12 AS 532)
The Southern Command is equipped primarily with heavy strike aircraft, and already containing much of the F-15S force, will only see one of its 4 squadrons getting new aircraft - the 15th Squadron will replace its F-5 planes with Rafale Bs.
Prince Sultan Air Base, Al Kharj
-18th Squadron (4-6 new AEW&C)
-19th Squadron (2 new ELINT/SIGINT)
-71st Squadron (6 A330 MRTT)
-32nd Squadron (6 KC-130J)
The complete modernization of the Kingdom's AEW and tanker fleets will be one of the final projects under the 2020 plan. While the KE-3A aircraft are already being replaced, it will only be in the 2018-2020 time frame that the E-3A units are finally retired, while the KC-130H are expected to either be replaced or upgraded to "J" standard.
Prince Abdullah Air Base, Jeddah
-4th Squadron (16 C-130J)
-16th Squadron (16 C-130J)
-20th Squadron (4 C-130J)
The transport squadrons at Jeddah are due for upgrade or replacement, and with the failure of the A400M program and limited alternatives, it is expected that all existing units will be converted to, or replaced by, C-130J aircraft.
King Khaled Air Base, Riyadh
-1st Squadron (Royal Flight, with 24 assorted transports)
-8th Squadron (20 Super Mushshak, 8 Cessna 172)
-9th Squadron (25 new primary trainer)
-22nd Squadron (25 new primary trainer)
-33rd Squadron (12 S-70A-1L, 1 Boeing 757, 2 Learjet 35A, 3 L-100 Hercules, 2 Gulfstream V)
Home of the medical evacuation units, Royal Flight, and primary flight school, about half of the aircraft of the KKAB will be replaced from 2010 to 2020, with the remainder continuing on much later. The 9th and 22nd squadrons, with their PC-9s that will be 30 years old, will receive new, more modern trainers by 2020, while some assorted aircraft from the 1st and 33rd squadrons will also be replaced.
King Khalid Military City, Al Batin
-12th Squadron (20 Mi-17)
-1st Aviation Battalion (18 VH-60L 13 Bell 406 Combat Scout)
-2nd Aviation Battalion (24 AH-64D)
-3rd Aviation Battalion (30 Mi-35)
-4th Aviation Battalion (24 UH-60L)
KKMC is the nominal base for the aviation detachment of the Royal Saudi Land Forces. Most of the aircraft here come under Land Forces control, hence the "battalion" organization. With new helicopter purchases, the RSLF will see a significant influx of aircraft, and a doubling of total units, but no actual replacements.
King Faisal Naval Base, Jeddah
-62nd Squadron (12 new naval helicopter)
-72nd Squadron (13 AS332F)
Naturally, aircraft here are under naval jurisdiction. With the AS365F and N helicopters showing their age, and the limitations of their size, the RSN is looking to have them replaced by more modern units. However, the larger Pumas will remain in service for the forseeable future.
King Abdulaziz Naval Base, Jubail
-64th Squadron (12 new naval helicopter)
-69th Squadron (12 AS365F or new naval helicopter)
Nominally equipped with half the AS365 force, the base on the Gulf will see a doubling of aircraft due to the expansion of helicopter-capable warships. It will include either 24 new helicopters, or retain the old Dolphins and just add another 12.
Saudi Arabia (CSJ) - March 13, 2010 03:21 AM (GMT)
Royal Saudi Navy 2020 Consolidation & Modernization Program Details Released
Under the long-term modernization program outlined by the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the Navy will undergo an extensive equipment upgrade program, a personnel increase of 20%, and an associated increase in naval combat vessels, in accordance with the growing needs for providing maritime protection in a 21st-century environment.
As with the original naval force, the RSN under the 2020 program will be split into two fleets - the Red Sea Fleet and the Persian Gulf fleet. Each will have differing equipment due to different threats, operational requirements, and roles.
Red Sea Fleet
Primary Port: King Faisal Naval Base, Jeddah
Secondary Port: Al-Minhalapin Naval Base, Yanbu
-2-4 Al Tabuk class frigates (Franco-Italian FREMM, 6000 tons)
-2 Al Riyadh class multirole frigates (expanded French Lafayette, 4725 tons)
-4 New patrol vessels
-0-2 Al Khafji class AIP submarines (Swedish A26, 1600 tons)
-2 New multiproduct replenishment ships
The Red Sea Fleet is primarily tasked with defending the vital ports of Jeddah and Yanbu, which remain the primary seaports of the Kingdom, and allow it to bypass the restricted and potentially dangerous Strait of Hormuz, and protecting the ships using those ports. The fleet consists of larger oceangoing vessels intended to provide maritime protection throughout the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and has replenishment vessels to support longer or extended deployments if needed. Historically, the Red Sea Fleet has been mostly French-built vessels, and the current modernization appears to maintain that, with FREMM units expected to replace the aging Al Medinah class. However, a pair of Swedish submarines may be procured as well.
Persian Gulf Fleet
Primary Port: King Abdul Aziz Naval Base, Jubail
Secondary Port: Dammam Naval Base, Dammam
-2 Al Bahah class air defense destroyers (South Korean KDX-III, 11,000 tons)
-4 Jubail class multirole frigates (South Korean FFX, 4300 tons)
-6 New patrol vessels
-2 Al Khafji class AIP submarines (Swedish A26, 1600 tons)
-3 Al Jawf class minehunters (UK Sandown, 484 tons)
-0-2 New multiproduct replenishment ships
The Persian Gulf Fleet is primarily tasked with providing security to the Kingdom's offshore oil platforms, as well as protecting port facilities on the Persian Gulf and ships that use them. Most vessels will be optimized for the shallow waters of the Gulf, and place greater emphasis on air defense as a result of past conflicts. The newly purchased Korean frigates and destroyers will serve as a vanguard to counter air, cruise, and ballistic missile attacks against both the oil platforms and Saudi mainland, while the smaller patrol craft and minehunters will deal with littoral threats. It is expected that replenishment ships may be acquired to extended the deployment time of the air defense destroyers and allow continuous coverage.
Saudi Arabia (CSJ) - January 3, 2011 10:46 AM (GMT)
Recent F-15 Crash Elicits Probes
In a highly unusual occurrence, a Saudi F-15S plummeted from its 10,000m cruising altitude to impact in the dunes near King Khalid Military City. Only one of the two aircrew was able to eject safely, and even with the investigation only just beginning, questions regarding the aircraft are already being raised.
The plane, at over 26 years old, was at a similar age to US F-15s that suffered unusual stress fractures 15 years ago, and questions of airframe fatigue are already being raised. The problem with the US planes, all of earlier F-15A-D models that no longer serve in the RSAF, resulted in all such planes in international service being grounded for several months as they were inspected for these hard-to-detect signs of wear. Despite assurances at the time that F-15E models were unaffected by this problem, it has been suggested that this might be due mostly to issues of age, with the average F-15C being more than a decade older than the typical F-15E, and thus the same problem could be occurring in the current aircraft.
The F-15S aircraft are officially rated for 18,000 service hours, which should allow them to serve beyond 2040.
RSAF officials have cautioned that it is too early for speculation, as the investigation is still underway, and there are many other possible causes for the crash. It has also been confirmed that US experts have been called to assist in the investigation.
Saudi Arabia (CSJ) - January 10, 2011 10:06 AM (GMT)
The End of an Era
This week, the last operational RSAF Tornado Squadron will formally complete its transition to the Dassault Rafale. These planes, all of the IDS strike version, are among the last western aircraft of their kind in the world. While former Soviet clients continue to use the older Su-7/22, MiG-23/27, and Su-24 aircraft, the only other frontline western aircraft with variable geometry wings are a handful Iranian F-14s, which themelves are used primarily as AEW platforms rather than combat aircraft, and the American B-1B, a heavy bomber. Neither is properly a frontline combat aircraft any more, and even the F-14s are likely to be replaced as soon as dedicated AEW aircraft become available.
The Panavia Tornado made a name for itself in Operation Desert Storm, where RAF aircraft used them to telling effect against Iraqi air bases, and as such, 18 of Saudi Arabia's 87 Tornados are expected to cotinue flying in a reserve unit, both with ceremonial and potential combat duties. But the remaining aircraft will be retired for good. It is expected that no nations will be especially interested in buying second-hand units due to their high operating costs, and as such, most of these aircraft will likely be scrapped. It has been stated, however, that, after being stripped of combat systems, a number will be made available on civilian markets, where they may find homes in museums, display teams, or even the hands of private collectors.