Royal Saudi Navy

This article is about the Royal Saudi Navy. For other Royal Navies, see Royal Navy (disambiguation).
Royal Saudi Arabian Navy
Founded 8 May 1796 (220 years)[1]
Country Arabian Kingdom
Allegiance Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Branch MODA (1933– present)
Type Navy
Role Maritime warfare
Size 48,300 Officers & sailors
12,500 Royal Marines
60,800 regular personnel
300+ ships
50+ aircraft (2016 est.)[2]
Part of Saudi Arabia Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Riyadh, KSA
Nickname(s) RSNF
Anniversaries 23 September
Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan al-Sultan
Naval base flag

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces is the Naval force of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sometimes referred to as the RSNF (Royal Saudi Naval Forces). The Navy has about 60,000 officers and men, including Marines. The Naval headquarters is in Riyadh. The Western Fleet is based in the Red Sea with the main base at Jeddah. The Eastern Fleet is based in the Persian Gulf with headquarters at Jubail. Other naval facilities were located at Yanbu, Dammam, and Ras Mishab.


The Navy was founded in 1957 and began a significant expansion with United States assistance in 1972 aiming to match the Imperial Iranian Navy. Following the Iranian Revolution a further expansion programme was initiated with French assistance, this was the Sawari programme. Further vessels were purchased from Britain and France in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1980, U.S. defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation began work with the Royal Saudi Navy to design and integrate the country's own command, control, and communications (C3) centers.[9]


The navy is a modern force with foreign built ships:

HMS Makkah
King Abdul-Aziz Naval Base in Jubail, home to the eastern fleet of the Royal Saudi Navy


It was believed the Saudis intended to order two new British-built Type 45 destroyers,[10] however production of the destroyers came to an end with no order made. Another destroyer that the Saudis are considering is the American built Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, having been briefed by the US Navy in May 2011 on the acquisition of two destroyers in a package that also includes an unknown number of Littoral Combat Ships.[11]


Patrol boats

Missile patrol boat Oqbah (525)
The gunboat Faisal


Support vessels


Many smaller patrol craft, two Danish-built royal yachts

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Sikorsky MH-60R  USA ASW/ASuW Helicopter 10 Ordered May 2015 - armed with Hellfire missiles
AS332 Super Puma  FRA ASW helicopter B1, M1, F1S1, F1S2 20
AS565 SA Dauphin  FRA SAR helicopter 24


Germany is all set to supply 48 patrol boats to Saudi Arabia within the framework of its border security project, a cost of 1.5 billion euros has been noted for this deal. Luerssen, has already started building 15 patrol vessels for the project's first phase. The patrol boats to be procured under the current contract come in two forms. The first are the 'TNC 35' models, which are 35-meter-long and are propelled by two diesel engines with a combined output of 7,800 kilowatts. The boat can reach speeds of up to 40 knots. The second models, 'FPB 38' are 38-meter-long and can reach speeds of up to 31 knots. As of November 2016 1 TNC 35 has been delivered to Saudi Arabia.[13]

Saudi Arabia wants to buy five German submarines for around €2.5 billion ($3.4 billion) and more than two dozen more in the future.[14]

In December 2014, the U.S. awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for a Foreign Military Sale of the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System to Saudi Arabia. With no surface ships compatible with the Mk 41 and no plans to acquire a land-based missile defense system, this indicates the country is close to purchasing a VLS-equipped surface combatant. Saudi Arabia has evaluated the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the Multi-mission Combat Ship version of the Freedom-class littoral combat ship able to carry a VLS.[15] In October 2015, the truth came as the US informed Congress of a possible sale of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships, a variant of the LCS.[16]





  1. "Bahrain - McGill School Of Computer Science".
  2. "Military Power World".
  3. United Nations Operation In Somalia
  4. Saudi Gazette. "Saudi Gazette". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  5. "Saudi Vessel Helps Thwart Attack On Turkish Ship". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  6. "Anti-pirates success story: Saudis chase off attackers of cargo ship". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  8. Saudi Gazette. "Navy sinks 2 infiltrator vessels". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  9. Dr. J. Robert Beyster with Peter Economy, The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company, John Wiley & Sons (2007) p. 49
  10. The Independent, "UK seeks £2bn Saudi destroyer contract" By Michael Harrison, 9 March 2007
  11. Defense News, "Saudi Arabia Mulling BMD-Capable Destroyers" By Christopher P. Cavas , 13 June 2011
  12. "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Mark V Patrol Boats". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  14. "Report: Saudi Arabia Eyes Buying German Submarines". Defense News. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  15. FMS of MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems May Indicate Purchase of LCS or DDG by Saudi Arabia -, 18 December 2014


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