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Saudi Arabia: The Gulf’s Best-Equipped Military

Saudi Arabia: The Gulf’s Best-Equipped Military

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia has the best equipped armed forces in the Gulf region, while counting on its Western partners to guarantee its security, the International Institute for Strategic Studies says.

The Saudi military numbers 227,000 troops, including 75,000 in the army, 13,500 in the navy and 20,000 in the air force.

Some 16,000 personnel are committed to air defenses, 2,500 responsible for strategic missiles and 100,000 man the National Guard, according to the IISS Military Balance, 2015.

The kingdom also has 24,500 paramilitary forces.

The Saudi armed forces have close ties with foreign armies, particularly the United States, Britain and France which gives them access to training and equipment.

The Saudi army regularly buys modern equipment, with the navy seeking to purchase submarines, according to the media.

Riyadh’s appetite for arms, already high due to a perceived threat from Iran, is fed by regional instability, notably in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia on Thursday launched air strikes as part of a multinational coalition.

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