With the introduction of the latest and the most advanced fighter jets, the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) is set to acquire a new cutting edge in its defense of the homeland and the region.
King Salman will patronize the induction of the F-15SA into the RSAF during the 50th anniversary on Wednesday of the King Faisal Air Academy (KFAA). The event will also see the graduation of the academy’s 91st group of students.
Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has frequently spoken about boosting military and defense capabilities. The introduction of the F-15SA fighter aircraft into the air force is part of that goal.
In addition to boosting military and defense capabilities by upgrading the armed forces — notably those of the RSAF — Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that qualifying and training pilots and co-pilots, as well as improving the armed forces’ capabilities, would enable them to perform more efficiently.
The newly obtained F-15SA fighter aircraft are among the most advanced in the world.
The air force has received special attention from the country’s leadership since the early 1970s. The RSAF was, and is, involved in critical missions which have made it one of the most advanced air forces in the region.
The Kingdom’s strategic partners rely on Saudi participation in the war on terror and Saudi Arabia is seen as an influential, if not the most influential, partner in the region and the Muslim world. Saudi Arabia is a defender of neighboring Arab countries against potential aggression from destabilizing powers such as Iran.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia formed the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) which is made up of 40 Muslim countries. A fortnight ago, Riyadh hosted the chiefs of staff of 14 countries from the global coalition against Daesh in an attempt to improve and step up coordination.
Despite the turmoil in the Arab world since 2011, including in neighboring Iraq and Yemen, Saudi Arabia has been determined to constantly upgrade its armed forces, particularly the RSAF. Daesh and other terrorist and militant groups, some supported by Iran, are trying to take advantage of the turmoil to act against certain countries, including Saudi Arabia and its allies.
The Kingdom “has a particular importance in the region and the wider world,” said Sir John Jenkins, director of the Middle East Office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), and former UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia. “This is partly because of its economic weight and its importance within Islam.”
There is also a realization that Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of the fight against violent extremism, he added.