Oman Military - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman (RAO), Royal Navy of Oman (RNO), Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), Royal Guard of Oman (RGO), Sultan's Special Forces; Royal Oman Police (ROP): Civil Defense, Immigration, Customs, Royal Oman Police Coast Guard (2023)

note 1: the Sultan’s Special Forces and the ROP Special Task Force are Oman’s primary tactical counterterrorism response forces

note 2:
in addition to its policing duties, the ROP conducts many administrative functions similar to the responsibilities of a Ministry of Interior in other countries

Military expenditures

5.5% of GDP (2022 est.)

8% of GDP (2021 est.)

11% of GDP (2020 est.)

11.8% of GDP (2019 est.)

11.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 40,000 active duty troops (25,000 Army, 5,000 Navy; 5,000 Air Force; 5,000 Royal Guard) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the SAF's inventory includes a mix of older and some more modern weapons systems from a variety of suppliers, particularly Europe and the US; in recent years, the UK has been the leading supplier of arms to Oman (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for voluntary military service (women have been allowed to serve since 2011); no conscription (2022)

Military - note

the SAF’s primary responsibility is external security; it is a small, but professional and well-equipped military that trains regularly, including with foreign partners such as the UK, US, and Gulf Cooperation Council countries; the SAF has a longstanding security relationship with the British military going back to the 18th century; the relationship was notable during the Dhofar Rebellion (1963-1976), when the British military provided considerable assistance to the SAF in their eventually successful counterinsurgency campaign; today, the SAF and the British maintain a joint training base in Oman and exercise together regularly; in 2017, Oman and the UK signed an agreement allowing the British military the use of facilities at Al Duqm Port; in 2019, the US obtained access to the port, expanding on previous military cooperation agreements in 2014, 2010, and 1980; Oman also allows other nations to use some of its maritime facilities, including China

the Omani Navy conducts maritime security operations along the country’s long coastline, including patrolling, ensuring freedom of navigation in the key naval chokepoint of the Strait of Hormuz, and countering piracy and smuggling; while Oman is not a member of the US-led, 34-member nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which operates task forces to counter piracy and smuggling, the Omani Navy has at times participated in CMF-led joint exercises; the Navy is a small but relatively modern force; its principal warships include 5 corvettes and 4 offshore patrol vessels, which are supported by a number of small patrol and fast attack craft

the Royal Army was formed as the Muscat Garrison in 1907; today, it has an armored brigade equipped with American and British tanks, 2 brigades of infantry, and a border guard brigade, as well as an airborne regiment; the Royal Guard is comprised of an infantry brigade and 2 special forces regiments; the Air Force has about three dozen modern European- and US-made multipurpose fighter aircraft (2023)

Maritime threats

the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2023-003 - Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab al Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, and Somali Basin-Threats to Commercial Vessels) effective 23 February 2023, which states in part that "Regional conflict, military activity, and political tensions pose threats to commercial vessels operating in the above listed geographic areas"; Coalition Task Force (CTF) Sentinel has been established to provide escorts for commercial shipping transiting the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman

NOTE: The information regarding Oman on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Oman 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Oman 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.