The Kingdom of Jordan gained independence in 1946 after the Second World War. It is situated in the centre of the Middle Eastern region bordering Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This particular geographic position made Jordan a very interesting partner for the Western powers. Israel-Palestine, Iraqi-Gulf and most recently the Syrian conflict/crisis have all been happening on the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom. Although Jordan has a military strength of one hundred thousand personnel, it usually relies on its foreign partners for security (mainly the US). One of the biggest issues for the Kingdom is the lack of natural resources. Throughout its existence Jordan needed to rely on foreign aid in order to sustain its economy during difficult times. The overall hostile atmosphere in the Middle East only made matters worse.
The Arab Spring and the Syrian crisis are becoming main security issues for the Jordanian government. A rather bad economic situation in the country is further worsened by the high unemployment rate, especially among the younger generations. These worsened economic conditions are favoring the extremists who are exploiting the situation for their own recruitment agenda. Some towns on the Jordanian-Syrian border have already become hotspots for Jihadists seeking their way into Syria. Although the Jordanian Armed Forces are members of the coalition against the Islamic State, it is questionable if Jordanian security apparatus can withstand a potential spillover from the crisis in the region.
The Jordanian Armed Forces had first been formed in 1920 as a “Mobile Force” under the command of British Captain Frederick Peake. Few years after that they were renamed as the Arab Legion, and finally in 1956 the Jordanian Armed Forces have been formed, with the King as its commander in chief, according to the constitution. The King can declare war, conclude peace or sign treaties. The King usually has a vast authority over the Armed Forces while the Defense Ministry mainly has administrative functions such are mobilization, conscription, logistics etc. The commanding officer of the Armed Forces is usually someone close to the King and also a leading member of a prominent beduin clan.
Jordanian military benefits from a high level of defense spending in comparison to their overall GDP. The military is also known for its constant engagement in international peacekeeping missions and humanitarian operations. Main security priorities for the Jordanian security Forces include: Israel-Palestine conflict (much of the Jordan’s population has Palestinian origin and there are many Palestinian refugees in Jordan), terrorist threats which are shaking the entire region and finally the Syrian crisis which has a great potential of spillover.
The Jordanian Armed Forces have a total of 100,500 active and 65,000 reserve personnel in Army, Navy and Air force.
Jordanian Arab Army has been active in the regional conflicts since 1950s. One of the major conflicts was the Arab-Israeli war which resulted in the defeat of the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian security forces. Today Jordanian Army consists of a lighter more mobile force primarily orientated as a defensive force, due to the instability in the region. The Army operates under four regional commands: Northern, Southern, Central and Eastern; each with 74,000 personnel. Although the Jordanian military closely operates with the US forces, their structure and ranks are similar to the British Army, this is mostly due to the military’s heritage.
FORCES BY ROLE
1 armored division
1 armored brigade
5 mechanized brigades
3 light infantry brigades
3 artillery brigades
3 air defense brigades
1 multiple rocket launcher brigade
EQUPEMENT OF THE JORDANIAN ARMY
MBT 752: 390 CR1 Challenger 1; 274 FV4030/2 Khalid; 88 M60 Phoenix
RECCE 153: 103 Scimitar; 50 Ferret
AIFV 452: 31 BMP-2; 321 Ratel-20; 100 YPR-765
APC 819+ ♦ APC(T) 634+: 100 M113A1; 300 M113A2 Mk1J; 234 YPR-765 ♦ PPV 185: 35 Cougar; 25 Marauder; 25 Matador; 100 MaxxPro
ARTY 1,441+ ♦ SP 568: 105mm 30 M52; 155mm 390: 370 M109A1/A2; 20 M-44; 203mm 148 M110A2 ♦ TOWED 100: 105mm 72: 54M102; 18 MOBAT; 155mm 28: 10 M1/M59; 18 M114 ♦ MRL 14+: 227mm 12 HIMARS 273mm 2 WM-80 ♦ MOR 759 ▪ SP81mm 50 ▪ TOWED 709: 81mm 359; 107mm 50 M30; 120mm 300 Brandt
ATMSL 975 ♦ SP 115: 70 M901; 45 YPR-765 with Milan ♦ MANPATSJavelin; M47 dragon; TOW/TOW-2A; 9K135 Kornet ♦ RL 112mm 2,300 APILAS
ADSAM 930+ ♦ SP 140: 92 9K35 Strela-10; 48 9K33 Osa-M ♦ MANPAD FIM-43 Redeye; 9K32M Strela-2M; 9K36 Strela-3; 240 9K310 Igla-1; 9K38 Igla
GUNSSP 356: 20mm M163 Vulcan; 23mm 40 ZSU 23-4; 40mm 216 M-42
RADAR LAND 7 AN/TPQ-36 Firefighter/AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder
ARV 137: Al Monjed; 55 Chieftain ARV; Centurion Mk2; 20 M47; 32 M88A1; 30 M578; YPR-806
MW 12 Ardvark Mk2
The Royal Jordanian Navy was established in the fifties as a Royal Coast Guard. Though it represented a naval element of the Jordanian Armed Forces the navy remained an integral part of the Army. Jordanian Navy usually provides assistance to the harbor security and maintenance, and cooperates with the customs and immigration personnel in order to ensure implementation of the country’s law and regulations. Royal Jordanian Navy has around 500 personnel.
EQUPEMENT OF THE JORDANIAN NAVY
PB 7: 3 Al Hussein; 4 Abdullah (and 12 patrol boats under 10 tones).
Jordanian Air Force
The Jordanian Air Force was established in 1948 by King Abdullah Bin Al-Hussein. In the beginning the Air Force was a part of the Arab Legion and its development was strictly monitored by the British government. Over the years the Jordanian Royal Air Force has made a significant progress by acquiring better equipment and better training conditions for their pilots. Today the Air Force is charged with protecting the country’s sovereignty, providing air support for the army, tactical bombing and transport of supplies and troops. The Jordanian Royal Air Force is deployed across several bases in the country including: King Abdullah I and King Abdullah II Air Base in Amman, King Hussein Air Base in Mafraq, Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Azraq, Prince Hassan Air Base and Rweished Air Base in Ruwaished. Their pilots have around 180 flying hours per year.
FORCES BY ROLE
FIGHTER/GROUND ATTACK: 2 squadrons with F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon ♦ 1 squadron with F-5E/F Tiger II
TRANSPORT: 1 squadron with C-130E/H Hercules; CN -235; C-295M ♦ 1 squadron with Cessna 208B; EC635 ♦ 1 unit with Il-76MF Candid
TRANING: 1 OCU with F-5E/F Tiger II ♦ 1 squadron with C-101 Aviojet ♦ 1 squadron with T-67M Firefly ♦ 1 helicopter squadron with AS350B3; Hughes 500
ATTACK HELICOPTER: 2 squadrons with AH-1F Cobra
TRANSPORT HELICOPTER: 1 squadron with AS332M Super Puma ♦ 1 squadron with Bell 205 ♦ 1 royal fleet with S-70A Black Hawk; UH-60L/M Black Hawk
AIR DEFENCE: 5-6 batteries with PAC-2 Patriot; 5 batteries with MIM-23B Phase III I-HAWK; 6 batteries with Skyguard/Aspide
EQUPEMENT OF THE JORDANIAN AIR FORCE
75 Combat capable Aircrafts
FTR 29 F-5E/F Tiger II
FGA 38 F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon
ATK 2 AC-235
TPT 20: Heavy 2 Il-76MF Candid; Medium 7: 3 C-130E Hercules; 4 C-130H Hercules; Light 11: 6 AT802 Air Tractor; 5 Cessna 208B
TRG 25: 15 T-67M Firefly; 10 C-101 Aviojet
ATK 25 AH-1F Cobra
MRH 13 EC635
TPT 70: Medium 20: 12 AS332M Super Puma; 3 S-70A Black Hawk; 3 UH-60L Black Hawk; 2 UH-60M Black Hawk; Light 50: 36 Bell 205; 8 Hughes 500D; 6 AS350B3
SAM 64: 24 MIM-23B Phase III I-HAWK; 40 PAC-2 Patriot
MISSILE ♦ ASM AGM-65D Maverick; BGM-71 TOW
AAM ▪ IR AIM-8J/N/P Sidewinder; R-550 Magic; SARH AIM-7 Sparrow; R-530; ARH AIM-120C AMRAAM
Jordanian Special Forces
Joint Special Operations Command was formed in the sixties with main objectives such are reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, search and rescue and protection of key areas in the country, similar to other special operation units around the world. One of the main features of the Jordanian Special Forces is the Training Center (KASTOC). This unique facility in the region provides training for elite units, law enforcement units, counter-terrorism units and single military operators. The Center is not only used for domestic purposes, various military and police units around the world regularly participate in training courses on this field. The site is located north of Amman covering a 25 square kilometers area with various shooting ranges, CQB sites and equipment needed to provide top training capabilities.
FORCES BY ROLE
2 Special Forces battalions, 2 Airborne battalions, 1 Airborne artillery battalion, 1 psyops (psychological operation) unit.
1 Royal Guard security brigade
1 Squadron with An-32B
1 squadron with MD-530F
1 squadron with UH-60L Black Hawk
EQUPEMENT OF SPECIAL FORCES
TPT Light 3 An-32B
MRH 6 MD-530F
TPT Medium 8 UH-60L Black Hawk
The article has been edited by Jovana Ljubic