Royal Saudi Navy

The Royal Saudi Arabian Navy (Arabic: القوات البحرية الملكية السعودية), sometimes referred to as the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF), is the naval force of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Navy has more than 13,500 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.

Royal Saudi Arabian Navy
القوات البحرية الملكية السعودية
Naval Jack of the Royal Saudi Navy
Active1796 (223 years ago as
part of the Saudi Army)[1]
Country Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
BranchRoyal Armed Forces (Since 1913)
Size13,500 Officers & sailors
3,000 Marines (2015)
50+ aircraft (2016)[2]
Part of
  • MODA
    GSP (as of 1925)
  • MOW (1796 –1891)
Anniversaries14 June (106 years)
Chairman of the General Staff
Gen. Fayyadh Al Ruwaili
Commander General of Navy
Adm. Fahad al Ghofaily
Naval base flag


The modern Saudi Arabian navy was founded in 1957[3][4] 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, Sawari, was initiated with French assistance. 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.[5]


The navy is a modern force with foreign built ships:


Three Al Riyadh-class frigates are modified versions of the La Fayette-class frigate (built by DCN, Lorient).[6] Each has a fully loaded displacement of 4,725 tons, and is armed with eight MBDA Exocet MM40 Block II surface-to-surface missiles (SSM), two eight-cell Sylver vertical launch systems for the Eurosam (MBDA and Thales) Aster 15 surface-to-air missile (SAM), an Oto Melara 76 mm/62 Super Rapid gun, and four 533 mm aft torpedo tubes. The ships are armed with the DCNS F17 heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo. The helicopter deck at the stern has a single landing spot for a medium size helicopter, such as the Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin or the larger AS 532 Cougar or NH90 helicopters.[7]

PhotoNumber Ship Builder Commissioned Status
812 Al Riyadh DCN Lorient 2002 In active service
814 Makkah 2003 In active service
816 Dammam 2004 In active service

Four Al Madinah-class frigates based in the Red Sea, built in France (Arsenal de Marine, Lorient (French Government Dockyard and CNIM, La Seyne) in the mid-1980s. Their full load displacement is 2,610 tons and they are armed with eight Otomat surface-to-surface missiles, one 8-cell Crotale surface-to-air missile launcher (26 missiles total), one 100 mm/44 dual purpose gun, two 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, four torpedo tubes, an aft helicopter deck and hangar; one Dauphin helicopter.

PhotoNumber Ship Builder Completed Status
702 Al Madinah Arsenal de Lorient 4 January 1985 In active service
704 Hofouf CNIM, La Seyne 31 October 1985 In active service
706 Abha 4 April 1986 In active service
708 Taif 29 August 1986 In active service

It was believed the Saudis intended to order two new British-built Type 45 destroyers,[8] 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.[9]


4 Badr-class corvettes built in the United States in 1981–83, based in the Persian Gulf, full load displacement of 1,038 tons, armament of eight Harpoon SSM, one 76 mm OTO Melara DP gun, one 20 mm Phalanx CIWS, two 20 mm guns, one 81 mm mortar, two 40 mm grenade launchers, two triple 12.75 inch torpedo tubes

Photo Ship Builder Completed Status
612 Badr Tacoma Boatbuilding 1981 In active service
614 Al-Yarmook 1982 In active service
616 Hitteen 1982 In active service
618 Tabuk 1983 In active service

Patrol boats

9 Al Sadiq-class patrol boats built in the United States (Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) 1972–1980, full load displacement of 495 tons, armed with four Harpoon SSM, one 76 mm OTO gun, one 20 mm Phalanx CIWS, two 20 mm guns, one 81 mm mortar, two 40 mm grenade launchers, two triple 12.75 inch torpedo tubes

Photo Ship Builder Completed Status

511 As-Siddiq (الصّدّيق) Peterson Builders 1980 In active service
513 Al-Farouq (الفاروق) 1981 In active service
515 Abdul-Aziz 1981 In active service
517 Faisal 1981 In active service
519 Khalid 1982 In active service
521 Amr 1982 In active service
523 Tariq 1982 In active service
525 Ouqbah 1982 In active service
527 Abu Obaidah 1982 In active service


3 Sandown-class minehunters (built by Vosper Thornycroft, Woolston), full load displacement of 480 tons:

Photo Ship Builder Completed Status
420 Al Jawf Vosper Thornycroft 1991 In active service
422 Shaqra 1993 In active service
424 Al Kharj 1994 In active service

Support vessels

2 French built Boraida-class replenishment oiler (modified Durance-class replenishment ships built by CN La Ciotat, with a helicopter deck aft and hangars for 2 helicopters.

Photo Ship Builder Completed Status
902 Boraida Vosper Thornycroft 1984 In active service
904 Yunbou 1985 In active service


Many smaller patrol craft, two Danish-built royal yachts

  • Prince Abdul Aziz (1983–84) – built by Helsingør Værft
  • Al Yamana (Built for Iraq 1981; entered service in Saudi Arabia in 1988)
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
P-8 Poseidon  USA Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft P-8A Poseidon 6 Boeing announced it had signed several defense and commercial agreements with Saudi Arabia and intends to order Chinook helicopters and P-8 reconnaissance aircraft.[11][12]


The Royal Saudi Navy maintains two, 1,500-man marine brigades consisting of three battalions each. The brigades are assigned to the Western Fleet headquartered in Jeddah and the Eastern Fleet headquartered in Jubail. The brigades are equipped with 200 Pegaso BMR AFVs and HMMWVs.


Germany will 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. Lürssen, 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 US Congress was informed of a possible sale of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships, a variant of the LCS.[16]

In July 2018 it was announced that Navantia had signed an agreement with the Royal Saudi Navy for the production of 5 Avante 2000 Corvettes with the last to be delivered by 2022 at a cost of approximately 2 billion Euros.[17]


  • Jeddah – Red Sea base home to the navy's Western fleet for frigates and 2 missile boats, 1 replenishing ship and 1 patrol minesweeper; located north of the King Faisal Naval Base air station and south of the container port area
  • Jubail – Persian Gulf base is home to the navy's Eastern fleet; smaller base home to corvettes, replenishing ship remaining missile boats and minesweepers
  • Dammam – Persian Gulf home port for the Saudi Royal family's two Royal Yachts


  • Ensign (Arabic: ملازم)
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade (Arabic: ملازم أول)
  • Lieutenant (Arabic: نقيب)
  • Lieutenant-Commander (Arabic: رائد)
  • Commander (Arabic: مقدم)
  • Captain (Arabic: عقيد)
  • Commodore (Arabic: عميد)
  • Rear-Admiral (Arabic: لواء)
  • Vice-Admiral (Arabic: فريق)
  • Admiral (Arabic: فريق أول)
  • Private (Arabic: جندي)
  • First Class Private (Arabic: جندي أول)
  • Corporal (Arabic: عريف)
  • Vice Sergeant (Arabic: وكيل رقيب)
  • Sergeant (Arabic: رقيب)
  • First Class Sergeant (Arabic: رقيب أول)
  • Master Sergeant (Arabic: رئيس رقباء)


On 30 January 2017 Al-Madinah was attacked by Houthi rebels using a suicide boat, killing 2 sailors and wounding 3 others.[18] The attack took place near the port city of Al Hudaydah, 150 kilometers southwest of the Yemeni capital Sana'a.



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    • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995
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