Saudi Arabia

A regional power, Saudi Arabia, led by the al Saud dynasty, was founded in 1932. Sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the Kingdom is often described as a crucial ally for the United States. However, the Saudis have long exported their radical Wahhabi ideology abroad, fomenting extremism among Muslim communities across the globe. In 1990, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Saudi Arabia allowed foreign troops to deploy to its territory, prompting an outcry from Saudi radicals, including the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Saudi Arabia continues to struggle with its extremist threat, with failed attempts to re-educate terrorists who very often return to the battlefield.  Internally, the country also has unresolved problems with its repressed Shia minority in the Eastern Province, who have erupted in protest sporadically during the Arab Spring. Some are believed to be inspired by Iran, which harbors a longstanding animosity for their Sunni regional rivals.  Saudi Arabia has the largest defense budget in the Middle East and became the world’s largest arms importer in 2014.

  • GDP
    $727.3 Billion
  • Military EXHD
    9.1% of GDP
  • Fit for Service
  • Population

Boeing wins $222m Chinook order for Saudi Arabia

The Boeing Co.-Philadelphia, Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, has been awarded a $222,549,505 firm-fixed-price modification (P00069) to contract W58RGZ-13-C-0002 for eight each CH-47F new build helicopters to support the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC). Work will be performed in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of July 30, 2021. Fiscal 2017 foreign military […]

Saudi Arabia Unveils Armed UAV

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) unveiled its Saqr 1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 11 May. The KACST said the Saqr 1 UAV is equipped with a satellite communications system, has an automatic take-off and landing capability, and is made from lightweight carbon and glass fibre materials to reduce its […]

Congress OK with Saudi Missile Defense Sale Amid Warming Israel-Gulf Ties

The Donald Trump administration’s interest in selling an advanced anti-missile system to Saudi Arabia is expected to easily clear Congress in a sign of warming Arab-Israeli ties. Israel is not objecting to the proposed sale of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system, according to several Washington sources, assuaging US lawmakers’ concerns that […]

AECOM Technical Services Awarded $9 Million Provide Engineering Services to GCC Countries

AECOM Technical Services Inc., Los Angeles, California, was awarded a $9,000,000 firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates) contract to furnish all necessary labor, materials, supplies, and equipment required for a full range of professional architecture and engineering services. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. […]

Boeing Awarded $143 Million for Modifications to Saudi AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters

The Boeing Co., Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $143,414,164 modification (P00005) to foreign military sales (Saudi Arabia) contract W58RGZ-16-C-0023 for a directed change for the Saudi Arabia National Guard II and III unique modifications to 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. Work will be performed in Mesa, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of April 1, […]

The Saudi-led Coalition Is Not Ready to Fight the Islamic State

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited Saudi Arabia last week hoping to reassure nervous Gulf allies that American security commitments remain in force in the wake of last year’s Iran nuclear deal. In exchange, the White House was hoping to encourage the Gulf states to play a more active role in the […]

The Mideast’s Precision Guided Arms Race

Precision guided munitions (PGMs) encompass a growing range of bombs and missiles designed to destroy targets on land, at sea, or in the air. While platforms like fighters, armored vehicles, and warships often receive more attention, their lethality is almost negligible if not bolstered by advanced munitions. With minor updates, today’s PGMs allow even older […]

The Saudis’ New Warships Are Missing Something

The U.S. State Department approved an $11.25-billion sale last month of four Lockheed Martin “Multi-Mission Surface Combatants,” or MMSCs, for the Royal Saudi Navy. While the announcement is only for a “possible” purchase, the deal is likely to move forward given Saudi Arabia’s need to update its aging Persian Gulf fleet. The sale comes as […]

Containment: The Gulf States’ Game Plan for Yemen

The Saudi-led international coalition operating in Yemen announced late last month it had ended the first phase of its nearly month-long campaign in the country. Though the coalition fell short of its stated goal of returning Yemen’s internationally recognized government to power, it insists that in removing the threat of spillover to Yemen’s neighbors, it […]

IDEX 2015: Middle East Arms Market Remains Strong

With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and an increasingly aggressive Iran, Gulf Arab states are spending billions to improve their defenses and better protect their energy infrastructure. Nowhere has this been more evident than last month’s International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi. The region’s largest defense exhibition attracted officials from […]

An Edge in the Desert

Weapons are pouring into the Middle East at an unprecedented rate. The Pentagon recently announced that it would sell six tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft to Israel for $1.3 billion, American hardware (including Apache helicopters) is being rushed to the Iraqi government to help in its battle against al Qaeda, and Washington has also restored military aid to Egypt after a brief hiatus. But Uncle […]

Category Name

Active Armaments
On Order
Air Defense Systems 1,696* (0)

Aircraft 737* (447*)

Artillery 750 (136)

Ground Vehicles 7,134* (1,516*)

Guided Munitions 25,533* (24,959*)

Personnel 233,500 (0)

Ships 34* (103*)