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Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force
Founded 1987; 34 years ago (1987)
Country  Saudi Arabia
Branch Strategic Missile Force
Type Land Based Intermediate Ballistic Missile Forces
Role Strategical Strike
Size >1,000
Part of Ministry of Defense and Aviation
Major General Jarallah Alaluwayt (Arabic: جار الله العلويط،)
Flag 150px

Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force (Arabic language: قوة الصواريخ الإستراتيجيه الملكية السعودية‎) is the fifth branch of the Saudi Armed Forces. The RSSMF probably previously had its headquarters in Riyadh, in the underground command facility that co-ordinates Saudi Arabia's advanced "Peace Shield" radar and air defence system, but, during July 2013, the new RSSMF headquarters and academy buildings were officially opened in Riyadh by Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz and current RSSMF commander Major General Jarallah Alaluwayt.[1][2]

The main weapon of the RSSMF is the Chinese DF-3 (CSS-2) Dongfeng missile sold to Saudi Arabia by China. A conventional high-explosive warhead (2150 kg) variant of the DongFeng 3A Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile with range up to 2800 km was developed for an export order to Saudi Arabia in 1987.[3] About 30~120 missiles and 9~12 launchers were reportedly delivered in 1988, though no known test launch has ever been made in the country. Some sources suggest that the RSSMF has considered purchasing the advanced DF-21 ballistic missile from China in the future.[4]

The Strategic Missile Force has one known partially underground ballistic missile base built in 2008, Al-Watah ballistic missile base (found in satellite images [5]) in the rocky central part of Saudi Arabia, some 200 km south-west of the capital city Riyadh. It has security perimeter with a checkpoint on the main road, extensive storage and administrative areas with two launch pads and a communications tower, roads and seven gates leading to the underground facilities, and fortified depots for launchers behind the secondary checkpoint in the ravine area.

Two other older bases at Al Sulayyil ballistic missile base [6][7] and Al Jufayr share many similarities, suggesting that they share the same role. Al Jufayr lies approximately 90 km south of Riyadh, with Al Sulayyil approximately 450 km southwest of the capital. Each complex has two missile garrisons (a north and a south), with a third area providing housing, maintenance, and administrative functions. The garrisons themselves are located a short distance apart within a secured complex. The administrative and support complexes are outside the security perimeter.

The Strategic Missile Force is top secret, so there is no open information concerning the exact number of personnel or budget used by the RSSMF. The RSSMF's role is growing fast now since Saudi Arabia and other Arab States of the Persian Gulf declared in 2009 a wish to obtain nuclear weapons as a countermeasure against the Nuclear program of Iran. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington have mentioned it.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12] Some experts speculate (taking into account Saudi Arabia financial help to nuclear weapons program in Pakistan) that Saudi Arabia can or already get nuclear weapons from Pakistan since "it is a cash-and-carry deal for warheads, the first of those options sketched out by the Saudis back in 2003; others that it is the second, an arrangement under which Pakistani nuclear forces could be deployed in the kingdom." [13]


  1. @ SaudiArmyNews "Arabic:المملكة العربية السعودية هي الدولة العربية الوحيدة التي من ضمن فروع قواتها المسلحة فرع رئيسي يسمى - Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country there among the branches of the armed forces major branch is called Strategic Missile Force", Twitter @ SaudiArmyNews, July 2013.
  2. "Arabic:قوة الصواريخ الإستراتيجية الملكية السعودية - The power of the Saudi royal strategic missiles". National Kuwait. July 2013. Archived from the original on 26 November 2013. 
  3. SinoDefence "DongFeng 3 (CSS-2) Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile", sinodefence, 27 February 2009.
  4. Jefrey Lewis - Arms Control Wonk. "Saudi Arabia’s Strategic Dyad" Arms Control Wonk , 15 July 2013.
  5. Sean O'Connor - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. "Saudi ballistic missile site revealed", IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, 10 July 2013.
  6. Ronen Bergman - GlobalSecurity Org. "Al Sulayyil Missile Base"
  7. GlobalSecurity Org. photos "Imagery of Al Sulayyil Missile Base Launch Complex Area"
  8. US embassy cables: Saudi official warns Gulf states may go nuclear [1], The Guardian, 28 November 2010.
  9. Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran to stop nuclear programme [2] The Guardian, 28 November 2010.
  10. Riyadh will build nuclear weapons if Iran gets them, Saudi prince warns [3] The Guardian, 29 June 2011.
  11. Dennis Ross: Saudi king vowed to obtain nuclear bomb after Iran [4] Haaretz, 30 May 2012.
  12. King Says Saudi Arabia Would Need Nukes to Counter Iran Arsenal [5] The Nuclear Threat Initiative, 30 May 2012.
  13. Mark Urban: Saudi nuclear weapons 'on order' from Pakistan [6] BBC News, 6 November 2013.

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