Saudi Arabia Military - 2021


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Military and security forces

Ministry of Defense: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes marines, special forces, naval aviation), Royal Saudi Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Missiles Force; Ministry of the National Guard (SANG); Ministry of Interior: Border Guard, Facilities Security Force (2021)

note: SANG (also known as the White Army) is a land force separate from the Ministry of Defense that is responsible for internal security, protecting the royal family, and external defense

Military expenditures

7% of GDP (2020 est.)

8% of GDP (2019)

9.5% of GDP (2018)

11.1% of GDP (2017)

10.8% of GDP (2016)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Saudi military forces have about 225,000 active troops; approximately 125,000 under the Ministry of Defense (75,000 Land Forces; 14,000 Naval Forces; 36,000 Air Force/Air Defense/Strategic Missile Forces) and approximately 100,000 in the Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) (2021)

note: SANG also has an irregular force (Fowj), primarily Bedouin tribal volunteers, with a total strength of approximately 25,000 men

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Saudi military forces, including the SANG, includes a mix of mostly modern weapons systems from the US and Europe; since 2010, the US is the leading supplier of armaments, followed by France and the UK; Saudi Arabia is the world's largest arms importer (2020)

Military deployments

est. 2,500-5,000 Yemen (varies depending on operations, which continued into 2021) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; in 2018, women were allowed to serve as soldiers in the internal security services under certain requirements; in February 2021, the Saudi Government agreed to allow women to join the military and serve as soldiers up to the rank of non-commissioned officer (2021)

NOTE: The information regarding Saudi Arabia on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Saudi Arabia 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Saudi Arabia 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.