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Jordan Arab Army

The mission of Jordan's Armed Forces is to defend and maintain the sovereignty, security, and stability of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan against any external or internal threat.

The Royal Supply and Transport Branch (RST) has the responsibility of providing Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) with requirements of food rations, fuel, oil and fire extinguishing equipment, in addition to that, general transport services for JAF. Due to the importance of such duties and their influence on forces at war and peace. RST does it's best to reach the highest level of performance through improving the efficiency and capability of units in carrying out their duties. The mission of the Military Media Branch is to provide the military with facts, news and information through various available mass media in away that help them direct and unite their thought, preserve their morale and security. The Army Computer Directorate (ACD) is the main technical and maintenance support facility in the Jordanian army for computer technology. It was founded due to the increasing need for such support, so as to meet the new challenging technologies implemented throughout the command and land units.

The establishment of the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) returns to the elite fighters of the Great Arab Revolt (GAR) led by Al-Sharif Hussien Bin Ali. That elite came with Prince Abdulla Bin-Hussein on October 21, 1920. A number of Arabs, numbering of 25 officers and 250 soldiers joined Prince Abdulla to form the nucleons of the Arab legion, This legion was perpetuation of the GAR in 1917. The leader of this revolt Al-Sharief Hussein Bin Ali called this army the Arab Army. In 1923 Prince Abdulla gave the same name to the force nucleus of the trans Jordan - Emirate to keep it for all Arabs as the GAR broke out on June 10,1916 has been for all Arabs.

The basic military roles of this army were to prevent the tribal feuding and protect the independence of the newly - established state. This army started with an infantry company, cavalry company, Machines guns unit, signal section and military band. In 1923 , The total number of the army did not exceed 750 men who were combined under the command supervision of British captain F.G. Peak.

During 1930, the legions strength was expanded to approximately 11,000. In 1931, a camel-mounted desert mobile force was organized under the command of John Bagot Glubb to maintain security and order. This organization attracted numerous Bedouin volunteers. In 1933 , The first mechanized force was formed. This element consisted of three vehicles and 120 men including the camel-mounted desert mobile force, It undertook the responsibility of maintaining security, preventing the raids among the tribal groups and deterring the raids from the outside.

By the eve of World War II, the legion had been expanded to a force of about 1600 men, This legion took part in operations in Syria during this war. Then, independent companies were established in addition to a regular battalion which was grown to become later the 1st brigade. In 1942. The 2nd battalion was formed to become later on the 2nd brigade. the army continued its expansion in number and equipment. In 1948, it consisted of two brigades, two garrisons and fourth battalions was increased to become six battalions. so the army consisted of infantry division, artillery brigade, mortar battery, artillery battery, engineer and signal battalion and field aid unit.

His Majesty King Hussein - the supreme commander of the legion - spared no pains at all to improve the army in terms of cadre and equipment. On March 1, 1956 His Majesty King Hussein dismissed General Glubb, a prominent British soldier who had served Arab armies well during his lifetime, from his post as Chief of the Jordanian Army. This no-notice dismissal of Glubb and his British staff officers was perceived in England as a major blow to British prestige worldwide. After Glubb's departure the army was recognized and Arab commanders assumed leadership posts in the army.

In 1957, His Majesty King Hussein ordered to establish the 4th infantry brigade and another field artillery. In 1958, the heavy artillery was entered, In the same year the armor brigade was recognized to become an armor division and in 1961 it become the armor corps. During this period the 40th bridge, 60th brigade and the royal guard brigade were established. In 1965, the army achieved another advancement when His Majesty King Hussein ordered to form five infantry brigades. The army was divided into two fronts: Western front and Eastern front, ten infantry battalions were concentrated on both fronts.

In 1967, a new armor brigade was established. the artillery brigade was recognized to be consisted of three field artillery battalions and anti-aircraft battalion. At the onset of the June 1967 War, Jordan had four infantry brigades plus one armored brigade in the Jerusalem-Ramallah -Hebron sector, two infantry brigades reinforced by armor and artillery in the Nabulus area, and one infantry brigade and one armored brigade in the Jordan River valley as reserve for the Nabulus forces. After fighting from June 5 to June 7, the overwhelmed Jordanians were forced to abandon Jerusalem and the entire West Bank, withdrawing across the Jordan River to prevent the total capture or annihilation of their army. The Jordanians fought tenaciously without air cover, and were subsequently attrited by Israeli air power. Those reserve-armored units from the Jordan River valley that were able to reach the battle zone were in too poor a condition to support the infantry.

After the 1967 war, the army witnessed a tangible advance in all aspects particularly in weapons and training. In other words, new pieces of artillery, rifles, guns, tanks, vehicles, missiles and equipment were brought to the army. In 1968, the army fought the Israeli army in Al-Karameh battle and destroyed the myth of the Israeli forces that the Israeli army will not be conquered. In 1973 war, in a mere six days, from 5-10 June, the IDF routed the combined Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian Armies. On the first day, the Israeli Air Force destroyed the combined airforces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. In addition to attacking Egypt on the first day of the war, Dayan ordered an attack against Jordan later that afternoon; the morning of the third day found King Hussein approving a general withdrawal of the Jordanian Army from the West Bank. His Majesty King Hussein ordered his army to participate in this war and sent the 40th armor brigade to the Syrian front and they played a significant role in repelling the Israeli attack on the Syrian territories. Jordan, for reluctantly participating inthe Arab cause, lost 80 percent of its armor and suffered 700 killed and 6,000 wounded andmissing.

By 1990 the 74,000 troops of the Jordan Arab Army were organized into two armored divisions, two mechanized divisions, two independent brigades, and sixteen independent artillery battalions. After the June 1967 War, Hussein and his government undertook a major rebuilding and modernization program for the army. As of 1989, it was still considered to be the best trained of all the Arab armies and was larger and better equipped than at any time in its existence. Nevertheless, it had long been outstripped in equipment by the Israeli and Syrian armies, which had been expanded and re-equipped with modern armor and missile systems after the October 1973 War.

The basic organization was pyramidal, with three brigades to a division and three battalions in each brigade. Each of the two armored divisions consisted of two tank brigades and one mechanized infantry brigade. The two mechanized divisions were made up of two mechanized infantry brigades and one tank brigade. The independent brigades consisted of a Royal Guards Brigade and a Special Forces Brigade, the latter made up of three airborne battalions. Some significant units were missing from each division, and the weapons inventory of each division was closer to that of a reinforced brigade. For economy, the divisions did not have fully integrated organic logistics and support units but depended on main bases for supplies. Although the ratio of combat to support strength was favorable, the capability of independent brigades to operate at a distance from these bases was seriously impaired.

The bulk of the ground forces were concentrated in the north, at base complexes at Amman and Az Zarqa and at other installations in the vicinity of Irbid and Al Mafraq. Smaller bases were at Maan and Al Aqabah to the south (see fig. 15). No Jordanian forces were deployed in the Jordan River valley, where they would have been exposed to Israeli air power and artillery. They were instead emplaced on the heights above the valley where they could obstruct enemy movement up the routes to the central plateau leading to the main cities. The most forward troop dispositions were at Umm Qays overlooking the Jordan River in the northwest corner of the country to counter any potential Israeli flanking movement around the strong Syrian defenses concentrated in the Golan Heights.

In spite of years of American training, British military concepts continued to influence individual units. British forms of organization were particularly evident in administration, maintenance, and many technical units. The weapons inventory was predominantly of United States and British origin. Jordan's tank force consisted of the United States M-60 model, together with its own conversion of the obsolete British Centurion, known as the Tarik, and an improved version of the British Chieftain called the Khalid. Armored personnel carriers were the familiar United States M-113 model. In 1988 Jordan benefited from a substantial gift of Chieftain and Scorpion tanks and M-113s captured by Iraq from Iran, but it was not known whether the equipment could be introduced into the armored inventory without extensive repair or reconditioning. The artillery battalions were equipped by the United States with guns ranging from 105mm to 203mm, both towed and self-propelled.

Anti-tank defense was based on the TOW (tube-launched, optically- sighted, wire-guided) antitank missile and the man-portable Dragon system, both from the United States, together with more recent acquisition of the Apilas rocket launcher from France. The LAW-80 antitank missile was acquired from Britain in 1987 to replace the Dragon. In 1985 the air force began taking delivery of twenty-four Cobra AH-1S helicopters equipped with TOW missiles; these were eventually to be transferred to the army.

The ground forces were considered to be insufficiently protected from attack from the air, although efforts were being made to overcome the problem by the introduction of Soviet air defense systems. When the United States refused to replace obsolete forward air defense weapons, Jordan turned to the Soviet Union for help in 1981. Initial Soviet deliveries consisted of the SA-8 truck-mounted surface-to-air missile (SAM) with a range of between ten and fourteen kilometers and the ZSU-23 radar-controlled gun mounted on a lightly armored carriage. Both weapons had proved vulnerable to suppression measures by Israel in fighting against Syria. In spite of this, additional SA-8s were acquired in 1984, together with infantry SAMs, the shoulder-fired SA-7, and the SA-9. In 1985 the SA-13 and SA-14 were purchased as successors to the SA-9 and SA-7, respectively. Separate air defense brigades (actually, battalion size) were being equipped with the larger Soviet SAMs to be attached as needed to ground formations to provide close, mobile tactical air defense.

The United States delivered three Patriot anti-missile batteries to Jordan in early 2003 prior to the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq. The original Patriot customers in the Middle East - Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and now the UAE, are investing in the PAC-3 upgrade program.



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