The Royal Saudi Air Force (القوات الجوية الملكية السعودية, al-quwwāt al-ğawwiyyah al-malakiyyah as-suʿūdiyyah, operates the third largest fleet of F-15s after the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (RSAF) and the USAF.
The Boeing F-15 Eagle is their backbone combat aircraft, with the Panavia Tornado playing a major role. The Tornado and many other equipment were delivered under the Al Yamamah contracts with British Aerospace (now BAE Systems). Al-Salam, a successor to the Al Yamamah program executed the delivery of 72 Eurofighter Typhoons by BAE.
The Royal Saudi Air Force core competency is derived from advanced technology and not from numerical advantage, this is motive behind their drive for on-going modernization. Aircraft training is conducted on the Pilatus PC-9, BAe Hawk, Boeing F-15D Eagle and the Northrop F-5F Tiger II.. The Lockheed C-130 is basis of the transport fleet, complemented by CASA CN-235s. Reconnaissance is performed by the RF-5E and the Boeing E-3A
The VIP and Royal support fleet consist of a wide variety of civil registered aircraft mainly the Boeing B707 (now phased out), B737 and B747, Lockheed Tri-Stars (now phased out), MD11s, G1159A and Lockheed L-100-30. The HZ- prefix used in the civilian registrations of these aircraft derived from the historical name (HejaZ)
According to Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment - The Gulf States (dated: Jul 08, 2011) the Royal Saudi Air Force:
Intends to modernise its tactical transport fleet over the next decade and is seeking to acquire up to 10 more tanker aircraft to augment the KC-130Hs and KE-3As that is presently fulfill this role; it has made a start with the purchase of six Airbus A330 Multirole Tanker Transports in two separate batches.
Commander of the Air Force: Lt. General Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Ayish
Air Force Personnel Strength: 20,000
- Combat: approx. 330 (total), 261 (in service)
- Transport: 57 (total), 57 (in service)
- Helicopters: 234 (total), 234 (in service)
Official website Royal Saudi Air Force