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Royal Cambodian Army
Royal arms of Cambodia.svg
Royal Arms of Cambodia
Active 1953-Present
Country Cambodia Cambodia
Allegiance Kingdom of Cambodia
Branch Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
Type Army
Size 75,000 (2010)[1]
Part of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Phnom Penh
Motto(s) Defending the Kingdom of Cambodia
Colors Red, White, Blue
Anniversaries 9 November 1953
Engagements First Indochina War
Cambodian Civil War (as part of the Vietnam War)
Cambodian-Vietnamese War
1997 clashes in Cambodia
Cambodian–Thai border dispute

General Meas Sophea

Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF and Chief of Army
General Meas Sophea
General Tea Banh
General Srey Doek
General Hun Manet
General Hing Bun Hieng

The Royal Cambodian Army is a part of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. It has ground forces which numbered about 75,000 divided into eleven divisions of infantry, with integrated armour and artillery support. The Royal Army is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Defence.

Military organization[edit | edit source]

Under the current military plan and divisions, every military region (one per region)has a full strength of 3,500 soldiers. Each division will be supplemented by a mobile reinforcement division in Phnom Penh. The country is divided into six, until recently five, military regions, each comprising three or four provinces. There are garrisons in major cities and major army bases.

General Meas Sophea is the commander of the Royal Cambodian Army. He is also the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

The forces are deployed as required across the country and in operations, with bases as follows:

  • Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Headquarters, Phnom Penh
  • First Military Region HQ, Stung Treng
  • Second Military Region HQ, Kompong Cham
  • Third Military Region HQ, Kampong Speu
  • Fourth Military Region HQ, Siem Reap
  • Fifth Military Region HQ, Battambang
  • Sixth (Special) Military Region HQs, Phnom Penh/Pailin/Kompong Thom
  • Seventh Military Region HQs, Preah Vihear

Every Military Region is under the command of a Major General, assisted by a Chief of staff with a rank of a Brigadier General. In every province, there is a military base called Military Operation Zone under the command of a Colonel. In 2009, several three-star Generals, including General Hing Bun Hieng, were promoted to four-star Generals, along with the promotion of provincial commanders of Gendarmerie,military and police commissioner to Brigadier Generals. It has been noted that such promotion was an honor bestowed by the government for their effort in the Cambodian-Thai military standoff.

Special Forces Airborne[edit | edit source]

Uniform of the 911st Special Force Para-Commando.

Royal Cambodian National Counter-Terrorism Special Forces training exercise.

The Operation Base of the special forces airborne 911 unit (SF-911) is near the takethmey village, Kambol Commune, Angsnoul District, Kandal Province. This Unit is under direct command of the High Command Headquarter of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. The SF-911 have seven branches with 14 battalions under their control.

Following units is distributed in the Battalions:

  • Commando 1 to Commando 4 (Airborne Commando)
  • Commando 5 to Commando 9 (Attack Commando)
  • Commando 10 to Commando 12 (Support Commando)
  • Special Group 13 Close Protection
  • Counter terrorist 14 Group

Total staff 6,500 Counter terrorist 14 Group is Cambodians first specialized anti terrorist unit. And is SF-911 SWAT component. Counter terrorist 14 Group support law enforcement in anti terrorist operations

The SF regularly conduct trainings and joint exercises such as:

  • Special forces 6 course (commando Red Barret)
  • Airborne 11 Course (para)
  • Freefall 3 Course
  • Scuba 3 Course (Chhak Sea)
  • Terrorist Counter 3 Course (T.O)
  • Training has also been conducted in Indonesia under a special program at Batujajar. Batujajar military training center is located 22 kilometers from Bandung (West Java), where SF soldiers have been trained in parachute jumping and Landing zone tactics.

CHHAB PEAKDEY is the Commanding officer for the SF-911.

Army ranks[edit | edit source]

  • Senior General
  • General
  • Lieutenant General
  • Major General
  • Brigadier General
  • Colonel
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Major
  • Captain
  • Lieutenant
  • Second Lieutenant
  • Chief Warrant Officer
  • Warrant Officer
  • Command Sergeant Major
  • First Sergeant
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant
  • Corporal
  • First Class Soldier
  • Second Class Soldier

Military Police[edit | edit source]

AK-47 and Type 56 are rifles used in the military.

The Gendarmarie, or "Military Police (PM)", is a paramilitary unit about 10,000 soldiers deployed in all 24 provinces of Cambodia, and is responsible for monitoring all of the units of Gendarmerie including general training. Its headquarters is located in Phnom Penh, with the unit's chain of command under the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces High Command, The Gendarmerie is under the direct supervision of a commander with an equivalent rank to Lieutenant-General. The current commander of Gendarmerie is General Sao Sokha, a fomer bodyguard and personal advisor to Cambodian Prime minister Hun Sen. As a branch of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, Gendarmerie is under the direct control of the Ministry of National Defense and the Royal Cambodian High Command. Although, the Gendarmarie does not have a regional division like the military, it does have provincial division.

The Gendarmerie monitors all the 24 provinces and 186 districts, working with the local people. The Gendarmerie includes: a mobile team, consisting of six intervention units; an intervention vehicle battalion, a cavalry and other 4 infantries, based in Phnom Penh. The Gendarmerie training school is located in Khum Kombol, Kandal Province.

The number of soldiers in the army's special forces is as follows

  • Bodyguard Unit: 5,000 soldiers
  • 911 Parachute Regiment: 5,000 soldiers
  • Gendarmarie "Military Police": 10,000 soldiers

Equipment[edit | edit source]

The main combat weapons used by the army are illustrated in the table below. As of June 2010, it is assessed that about 300 of the APCs are to be fully operational.

Main military[edit | edit source]

PKM machine gun are in military service.

RPG-7 (top) and RPG-2 (bottom) are anti-tank weapon in the military service.

T-55AM2BP variants.

BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher.

Operational art and tactical doctrine is still being defined as the process of reform continues. Ostensibly, the continuing military reorganization will provide integrated armored support for each of the regional infantry divisions. However, much of Cambodia's terrain does not lend itself to armored operations and tanks are rendered unusable during the rainy season. All the OT-64 APCs have apparently gone to the Phnom Penh reserve force. In the 1990s, in order to make the army more mobile and mechanized, there was a steady influx of new tanks, self-propelled artillery, armored personnel carriers (APCs), and trucks. The ground forces seldom retire old models of weapons and tend to maintain a large equipment stock, keeping old models along with upgraded ones in the active force or in reserve. The army remains largely an infantry force, although a decade-long modernization program has significantly improved the mobility and firepower of its active forces.

Equipment for the main force units was furnished by Vietnam, China, and by the Soviet Union. Armaments consisted of small arms of Soviet origin, including the AKM (updated version of the AK-47) assault rifle, RPD light machine gun, PKM general-purpose machine gun, RPG-2 82mm rocket-propelled grenade, RPG-7 85mm rocket-propelled grenade, Chinese Type 56 assault rifle, and various crew-served weapons, including towed medium howitzers, and air-defense weapons in several calibers. Tanks in the RCAF armored battalions included the T-54/55, an old, but capable, main battle tank of Soviet origin; the obsolete PT-76/Type 63 light amphibious tank; and the Type-59, an older Chinese main battle tank, probably handed down from Vietnamese stocks. Multiple rocket launcher in main force included BM-14 and BM-21. Armored fighting vehicles in the main force inventory consisted of the Soviet BTR series of wheeled vehicles, and some aging American equipment, such as: M106 armored carriers and M113 armored personnel carriers, either bequeathed by Vietnam or left behind from the days of the Khmer Republic.

Special forces[edit | edit source]

The special forces' equipment varies from that of the rest of the army. For example, the AK-47 (Type 56) rifle, although reliable and abundant, is not accurate, and is too powerful for safe use by elite units specializing in close quarters combat and hostage situations.

The forces are the first confirmed foreign user of the new Chinese QBZ-95 series of a bullpup assault rifles. Technically this rifle is a QBZ-97, a Type 97A added 3-round burst mode and bolt hold-open device, with a different casing made by Jian She Group for export.

Vehicles[edit | edit source]

Armoured fighting vehicles[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
T-54/55 Main battle tank 200[2]  Soviet Union
Main battle tank 100[2]
 Czech Republic/ Poland/ Serbia
Type 62 Light tank 100[2]  China
BMP-1 Infantry fighting vehicle 50[3]  Soviet Union
BTR-60PB Wheeled Amphibious Armored Personnel Carrier 50[2]  Soviet Union/ Bulgaria
BTR-152 Armoured Personnel Carrier 30[2]  Soviet Union Maybe already retired
OT-64 SKOT Armoured Personnel Carrier 50[2]  Poland/ Czech Republic
BRDM-2 Amphibious Armoured Scout Car 50[2]  Bulgaria
PT-76 Light tank 25[2]  Soviet Union
M113 armored personnel carrier Armored personnel carrier 50 United States

Artillery[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
ZiS-3[3] 76 mm anti-tank field gun 50  Soviet Union
T-12[2] 100 mm anti-tank field gun 50  Soviet Union
D-74[2] 122 mm towed howitzer 50  China
M-30[2] 122 mm towed howitzer 50  Soviet Union
D-30[3] 122 mm towed howitzer 50  Soviet Union
M-46[2] 130 mm towed field howitzer 50  Soviet Union
Type 59-1[3] 130 mm towed howitzer 50  China
Type 63[2] 107 mm towed multiple rocket launcher 200  China
Type 81 SPRL[2] 122 mm self-propelled multiple rocket launcher 100  China
BM-21 Grad[2] 122 mm self-propelled multiple rocket launcher 100  Soviet Union
BM-13/16[2] 132 mm self-propelled multiple rocket launcher 100  Soviet Union
BM-14[2] 140 mm self-propelled multiple rocket launcher 100  Soviet Union

Anti-aircraft artillery[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
ZPU-1/-2/-4[3] 14.5mm towed anti-aircraft gun 100  Soviet Union
Bofors 40 mm[4] anti-aircraftautocannon 50  Sweden
ZU-23-2 23 mm towed twin-barrel anti-aircraft gun 100  Soviet Union
61-K[3] 37 mm towed anti-aircraft gun 100  Soviet Union
Type 65/74 37 mm towed twin-barrel anti-aircraft gun 100  China
AZP S-60[3] 57mm towed anti-aircraft gun 100  Soviet Union
KS-19[2] 100 mm towed anti-aircraft gun 50  Soviet Union

Infantry weapons[edit | edit source]

Origin Small Arms Type Remark
 Soviet Union Tokarev TT-33[5] Semi-automatic pistol Standard issue
 China Type 54[5] Pistol Standard issue
 China QSZ-92 Pistol Standard issue
 Soviet Union Makarov PMM Pistols Standard issue
 Belgium FN GP35[5] Pistols Used in small number.
 Soviet Union AKM[5] Assault Rifle Standard issue
 Soviet Union AKMS[5] Assault Rifle Standard issue
 China Type 56[6] Assault Rifle Standard issue
 China Type 56-1[6] Assault Rifle Standard issue
 China Type 56-2[7] Assault Rifle Standard issue, Recently received and deployed to troops near the Cambodian-Thai border.
 China CQ 311 Assault Rifle Some are seen in use along with the M16A1 rifle.
 China CQ 5.56mm Type A Assault Rifle Chinese variant of the M4A1. Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces and Bodyguard Unit.[1]
 Indonesia Pindad SS1-V1[8] Assault Rifle Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces, Military Police, and Bodyguard Unit.
United States M16A1[9] Assault Rifle Used by urban forces, military police, and a training rifle. FANK's main assault rifle.
 South Korea Daewoo K1A Assault Carbine Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces.
 China QBZ-97[10] Bullpup Assault Rifle Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces and Bodyguard Unit. Decommissioned and replaced by QBZ-97B.
 China QBZ-97A[10] Bullpup Assault Rifle Standard issue Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces.
 China QBZ-97B[10] Bullpup Assault Carbine Standard issue Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces and Bodyguard Unit and Cambodian Royal Guards.
 Soviet Union SKS[5][6] Semi-Automatic Carbine Used by Cambodian Royal Guards. Decommissioned and replaced by QBZ-97B.
 China Type 56 Carbine[5][6] Semi-Automatic Carbine Used by Cambodian Royal Guards and reserve training rifle.
 China Type 85 Submachine Gun Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces.
 South Korea Daewoo K7 Submachine Gun Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces.
 Israel Mini Uzi Submachine Gun Standard issue Used by the Bodyguard Unit.
 Germany HK MP5A4 Submachine Gun Used in small number by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces and by small number of Bodyguard Unit.
 Soviet Union SVD Sniper Rifle Standard issue
 China Type 79/85 Sniper Rifle Standard issue
 Soviet Union RPK[6] Light Machine Gun Standard issue
 Soviet Union RPD[5][6] Light Machine Gun Standard issue
 China Type 56 LMG[5][6] Light Machine Gun Standard issue
 China QBB-97 LSW Light Machine Gun Used by 911 Para-Commando Special Forces.
 Russia PKM[6] General-purpose machine gun Standard issue
 China Type 80[11] General Purpose Machine Gun Standard issue
 Soviet Union DShKM[5] Heavy Machine Gun Being replaced by W85 machine gun on ground troops, tripod mount. Remain in use on main battle tank.
 China Type 54 HMG[5] Heavy Machine Gun Being replaced by W85 machine gun on ground troops, tripod mount. Remain in use on main battle tank.
 China Type 77 Heavy Machine Gun
 China W85[11] Heavy Machine Gun Standard issue
 Soviet Union RPG-2[6] Rocket-Propelled Grenade Standard issue
 Russia RPG-7V2[5] Rocket-Propelled Grenade Standard issue
 China Type 56 RPG Rocket-Propelled Grenade Standard issue
 China Type 69 RPG Rocket-Propelled Grenade Standard issue
 China PF-89[7] Light Anti-tank Rocket Standard issue New infantry Anti-tank Rocket Launcher
 Germany Armbrust[5] Light Anti-tank Rocket Standard issue
 Soviet Union SA-7 Grail[2] Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems Standard issue
 China HN-5[2] Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems Standard issue
 China FN-6[2][7] Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems Standard issue
 China FN-12/16[2][7] Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems Standard issue, Advance version of the FN-6.
United States M79[6] Grenade Launcher Standard issue FANK's main grenade launcher.
United States M203 Grenade Launcher Attach on the M16A1 rifle, also uses by FANK's.

Peacekeeping Operations[edit | edit source]

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This article does not contain any citations or references. Please improve this article by adding a reference. For information about how to add references, see Template:Citation.

|date= }} The RCAF has sent RCAF personnel to various hotspots as part of the Kingdom of Cambodia's role as a member of the United Nations. Mostly engineers and logistical units, as well as Military Police and members of the paramilitary Armed Police have been sent to peacekeeping operations such as:

  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Sudan
  • Chad
  • Haiti


See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "THE MILITARY BALANCE IN ASIA: 1990-2011". Center for Strategic and International Studies. 16 May 2011. p. 70. http://csis.org/files/publication/110516_South_Asia-AsiaMilitaryBalance2011.pdf. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 "SIPRI Trade Registers". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/trade_register.php. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Cambodian Army Land Forces Equipment". ArmyRecognition.com. http://www.armyrecognition.com/cambodia_uk/cambodia_cambodian_army_land_ground_forces_military_equipment_armoured_vehicle_pictures_information.html. Retrieved 27 June 2011. [unreliable source?]
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bofors_40_mm#Users
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Christina Wille. "How Many Weapons are there in Cambodia?". Small Arms Survey. http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/F-Working-papers/SAS-WP4-Cambodia.pdf. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2009/10/cambodias-chinese-weapon-on-parade.html
  8. "Cikal Bakal Senapan Serbu Nasional" (in Bahasa Indonesia). Indonesia. pp. 38–39. 
  9. "Report: Profiling the Small Arms Industry - World Policy Institute - Research Project". World Policy Institute. November 2000. http://www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/reports/smallarms.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "QBZ97自动步枪". http://www.gun-world.net/china/rifle/qbz97/qbz97.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2011/05/mini-pla-in-making.html
  12. http://www.un.org.kh/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=203:moving-from-conflict-to-peacekeeping-42-cambodian-peacekeepers-sent-to-chad-and-central-african-republic-for-first-time&catid=43:latest-press-releases&Itemid=76

External links[edit | edit source]

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