Mission of the Armed Forces
After 1970 the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF; later
Royal Armed Forces) has became one of the more modern and
trained fighting forces among the Arab gulf states.
its strategic importance guarding the Strait of Hormuz
which nearly one-fifth of the world's oil transited) and
of Oman, the sultanate has struggled to maintain a high
military preparedness in spite of its limited financial
Its defense budget in 1992 was estimated at US$1.7
exclusive of the GCC subsidy shared with Bahrain. It has
periodically tested the capabilities of its armed forces
engaging in joint exercises with Western powers,
regular exercises with British forces. Oman has taken the
initiative in efforts to strengthen regional collective
through the GCC. At the conclusion of the Persian Gulf
proposed the development of a GCC regional security force
For many years after the defeat of the Dhofar
Oman regarded its southern border with the PDRY as the
likely source of future conflict. The PDRY provided the
rebels with supplies, training camps, and refuge from
Omani ground and air strength was concentrated at Salalah,
Thamarit, and other towns near the PDRY border. The threat
PFLO dissident activity supported by the PDRY or border
operations against Oman declined after reconciliation with
PDRY, marked by the exchange of ambassadors in 1987.
Apart from its military role, the SAF carried out a
of civil action projects that, particularly in Dhofar,
important means of gaining the allegiance of the people.
engineers assisted road construction in mountain areas.
force carried out supply operations and provided medical
to remote areas. The navy performed similar duties along
long coastline. The navy also patrolled the sultanate's
territorial waters and the 370-kilometer Exclusive
to deter smuggling and illegal fishing.
Data as of January 1993