Home » Saudi Arabia is now testing its new navy in real missions

Saudi Arabia is now testing its new navy in real missions

by admin
Saudi Arabia is now testing its new navy in real missions

Royal Saudi Naval Force frigate Makkah in the Bab el-Mandeb waterway in November 2022. US Navy/MCS3 Louis Thompson Staats IV

Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in its navy in recent years, purchasing a number of new warships.

Riyadh has also shown greater willingness to participate in and even lead maritime task forces.

These measures are a response to the growing threat and reflect a desire to rely less on the United States for defense.

This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and checked by a real editor.

Saudi Arabia’s naval forces have come a long way in recent years. Riyadh has acquired more modern warships and is increasingly willing to participate in and even lead maritime task forces in the Persian Gulf.

This shift reflects Saudi investments in its own military in response to the growing number of threats in the region. Riyadh also has a desire to reduce its dependence on the US in defending Saudi territory and its interests.

Saudi Arabia wants to become independent from the USA

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces have shed their “decades-long reputation as a reserved naval power.” At the end of August they took command of two Marine task forces in the region, which were among the Combined Maritime Forces or to International Maritime Security Construct belong. This shows “a clear turn” in Riyadh’s “maritime thinking,” Leonardo Jacopo Maria Mazzucco wrote for the in October Stimson Center. He is an analyst at Gulf State Analytics.

Read too

Russia wanted to raise the price of oil, but most OPEC states turned Putin down – now oil is even cheaper

A U.S. Navy officer waves to the Royal Saudi Naval Force corvette HMS Badr during an exercise in the Persian Gulf in December 2022. US Navy/MCS3 Louis Thompson State IV

See also  Port Louis: Cruise ship is stuck off Mauritius due to suspected cholera

The kingdom has long been dependent on US protection and military support. The Saudi military is primarily focused on countering air and land threats and lacks well-trained personnel.

But now asymmetric threats from rivals such as Iran and Yemen’s Houthi rebels have increased. Riyadh is therefore increasingly willing to reduce its dependence on Washington as a guarantor of its security.

Mazzucco noted that Saudi Arabia is taking concrete steps to modernize its fleet. The kingdom wants to demonstrate its ability to deploy its new warships in “real-world scenarios.” This includes the country “increasing its contributions to U.S.-led maritime security coalitions” and taking a “more important role” in protecting sea lanes along its long coastlines.

The kingdom ordered some of the fleets from Spain

In recent years mainly consisted of the Saudi Navy from Al-Madinah and Al-Riyadh class frigates. It was supplemented by Badr-class corvettes and Al-Siddiq-class patrol ships. Many of which were put into service in the 1980s.

Read too

China and Saudi Arabia work closer together: Currency swap deal worth 50 trillion yuan signed

The corvette Al Jubail is launched on July 22, 2020 at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz. Juan Carlos Toro/Getty Images

Riyadh is modernizing this fleet with five new Avante 2200-class corvettes. Saudi Arabia ordered it from Spain in 2018 as part of a contract worth 1.79 billion US dollars (1.644 billion euros). These warships are equipped with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, RIM-162 anti-aircraft missiles and a 76-millimeter gun. They can engage air and ground targets.

The first of the Spanish-built corvettes, Al Jubail, hit im August 2022 at the Saudi naval base in Jeddah. Riyadh expects to receive all five ships by 2024. They will join the Saudi Western Fleet, which is responsible for protecting Saudi Arabia’s extensive Red Sea coastline. There, Yemen-based Houthis have repeatedly threatened international shipping and foreign warships.

See also  Second year of war in Ukraine will be dire | Behind the scenes | Al Jazeera

The Western Fleet is not the only Saudi naval force receiving new warships. The Saudi Eastern Fleet is expected to receive the four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant Ships (MMSC ships) starting in 2019. They have these ships as part of a 1.96 billion US dollar (1.8 billion euro) deal order and ordered by Lockheed Martin.

The MMSC ships are based on the Freedom-class littoral combat ship. They will be the most modern ships in the Eastern Fleet when they enter service in the second half of this decade.

Read too

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister says fall in oil prices is just a ‘trick’

Patrol boats for Saudi Arabia in a German shipyard in April 2019. Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Iran used to be the strongest naval force in the Persian Gulf, but today Saudi Arabia plays a major role

Acquiring such warships and taking the lead in multilateral naval task forces demonstrates Riyadh’s determination to remain a formidable naval power in the region.

In the 1970s, the Nixon administration transferred security in the Persian Gulf to Iran under the last Shah. He built up the most powerful naval force in the region. He dominated this small but strategically important body of water, primarily with frigates from the United Kingdom. Before the fall of his regime in 1979, the Shah had a vision of Iranian warships in East Africa and eventually in the Indian Ocean would patrol.

Iranian naval power was severely weakened during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. In this decade, Saudi Arabia initiated the first Saudi naval upgrade program. As part of this, it equipped its navy with modern American, French and British warships.

The current upgrade, called the Saudi Naval Enhancement Program II (SNEP II), is the most important since.

Read too

Emergency loan from the “blood sheikh”? René Benko is negotiating with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund about a financial injection for the ailing real estate empire Signa Prime

HMS Badr in the Persian Gulf in December 2020. US Navy/MCS3 Louis Thompson Staats IV

See also  New Ukrainian front catches Russians off guard, NATO announces position at Zelensky's request | Ukraine war news | Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia wants to strengthen its authority in the waters through the navy

Across the Gulf, Iran is investing more in its powerful paramilitary forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps than in its regular armed forces.

Unlike the conventional Iranian navy, which has a standard fleet of frigates and corvettes, the IRGC navy uses speedboats. She trains first and foremost for hit-and-run operations against larger, better-equipped opponents.

The gradual expansion and modernization of the Saudi Arabian naval forces as part of SNEP II is intended improve Saudi Arabia’s capabilitymonitor and patrol surrounding waters and defend against possible attacks by Iran or its proxies.

The buildup does not mean that Saudi Arabia expects or seeks war with Iran or that it wants to win an arms race and displace Iranian naval power. Rather, Riyadh’s investments and increasingly active role in the region indicate a desire to be prepared to respond to crises, threats or conflicts – without having to wait for the American cavalry to come to its aid.

Paul Iddon is a freelance journalist and columnist who writes about Middle East developments, military affairs, politics and history. His articles have appeared in a number of publications covering the region.

External content not available

Your privacy settings prevent the loading and display of all external content (e.g. graphics or tables) and social networks (e.g. Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.). To display this, please activate the settings for social networks and external content in the privacy settings .

Change privacy settings

Read too

Bizarre video from the US Navy shows a plane that missed the runway and is now stuck on a coral reef

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy