Saudi Arabia and 20 countries are gathering in northern Saudi Arabia for large-scale military exercises that includes air, sea and land forces. The 18 day military exercise is called “Northern Thunder”.
This is the largest military exercise in the history of the region and comes two months after the announcement that Saudi Arabia will form a coalition of 34 nations to fight terrorism.
Saudi Arabia is the best funded military forces in the Middle East. In 2014 the countries defense budget was $80.8 billion, that is the third largest military budget in the world. Its military is made up of 440,000 active members. It has the largest military forces with 225,000 troops. Saudi Arabia also has 125,000 National Guards. It has 30,000 person navy and 30,000 person air force with 300 fighter planes. Plus helicopters, tanks, missiles, and anti-tank missiles.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, other participating nations include Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Kuwait, the Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania and Mauritius.
“North Thunder drills represent a clear message that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brothers and friends of the participating countries stand united to confront all challenges and maintain peace and stability in the region,” the Saudi Press Agency said. CNN