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Royal Saudi Land Forces Modernization

The equipment of the land forces came from a variety of sources but primarily from Western countries. The fine folks over at Defense Industry Daily note that "Saudi Arabia has an unusual land forces structure external link whereby it has an American brigade (8th Armored Brigade) currently armed with US equipment like M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradleys et. al., and a French brigade (4th Armored Brigade) armed with French equipment including AMX-30 tanks, AMX-10P APCs, et. al. This approach hedges against supplier continuity and creates wider markers for geopolitical favors, at the cost of increased maintenance burdens, and potential logistical and interoperability headaches. Which are generally outsourced via comprehensive maintenance contracts."

Field artillery battalions were equipped with United States and French 155mm self-propelled howitzers and 105mm and 155mm towed guns. The principal antitank weapons, many of them mounted on armored vehicles, were the United States TOW, the British Dragon, and the French HOT. Tactical air defense weapons included self-propelled guns, the French Crotale surface-to-air missile (SAM), and Stinger and Redeye shoulder-fired missiles. The army used transport and medical evacuation helicopters but had no assault helicopters.

When the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) decided to field the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, prime contractor FMC Arabia selected Vinnell as the best qualified logistics support contractor for the program. Vinnell performed vehicle processing and deprocessing, maintenance and maintenance training, conduct-of-fire-trainer instruction and operation, tactical training from squad to brigade level, and instructor training at the RSLF ordnance and infantry schools.

Saudi Modernization - Armored personnel Carriers

In August 2006, the BAE joint venture FNSS external link of Ankara, Turkey won a $200+ million modernization deal external link involving a major overhaul of 300 Saudi M113 armored personnel carriers, out of the kingdoms fleet of 1,750-2,000 vehicles. FNSS completed the negotiations that had been ongoing for some time with the Ministry of Defence of Saudi Arabia and signed the 2nd Phase M113 Modernization Contract on 18 August 2010.

The total amount of the contract is 322.7 million US dollars and the duration of the contract is 36 months. Within the scope of the contract, the modernization of 312 units of M113 vehicles in 9 different configurations and the maintenance and operation of the AUC facility for 36 months where the modernization process is carried out will be ensured through the technology transfer and a comprehensive localisation. In addition, moving and static firing range, vehicle simulators, various after sale service articles, training and warranty services are also covered by the contract. The 2nd Phase modernization contract is deemed as the continuation of the 1st Phase contract covering 300 vehicles and worth 211 million US dollars that was signed in 2007 and expected to be completed in 2010.

On 07 June 2008 Tognum subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen was awarded the order for the repowering of approximately 300 Saudi M113 type APC engines. Contractual partner is the Turkish defense engineering contractor FNSS Savunma Sistemleri A.S., who has been commissioned by the Saudi Forces with the modernization of roughly 300 of the 1,750 existing M113 APCs. The contractual value for MTU is approx. 10 million, with the delivery of the engines scheduled for 2008 and 2009.

The Saudi Army has long operated the French AMX-10P, which are slowly being phased out of service. Plans for a replacement are unclear. It seems plausible that the 570 AMX-10P might be replaced by some 550 M113 taken from storage, and upgraded to the Turkish ACV-S configuration. Riyadh had ordered 950 BMP-3 amphibious vehicles from Russia but a deal was unlikely to materialise because of poor relations.

Saudi Modernization - Artillery

On September 19, 2011 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of Howitzers, radars, ammunition and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $886 million. The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requested a possible sale for 36 M777A2 Howitzers, 54 M119A2 Howitzers, 6 AN/TPQ-36(V) Fire Finder Radar Systems, 24 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS), 17,136 rounds M107 155mm High Explosive (HE) ammunition, 2,304 rounds M549 155mm Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAPs), 60 M1165A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Vehicles (HMMWVs), 120 M1151A1 HMMWVs, 252 M1152A1 HMMWVs, Export Single Channel Ground And Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS), electronic support systems, 105mm ammunition, various wheeled/tracked support vehicles, spare and repair parts, technical manuals and publications, translation services, training, USG and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The proposed sale will augment the Kingdom of Saudi Arabias existing light artillery capabilities. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which already has 155mm and 105mm howitzers and support vehicles and equipment in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these additional howitzers into its armed forces.



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