|The Royal Saudi Air Force couldn't fight (or fly) it's way out of a wet paper bag. They spent a whole lot of money on 72 new F-15S's, but have a pilot corps that are "fair-weather" flyers (both figuratively and literally). But even if they had pilots that would fly under all conditions (particularly combat conditions), too bad - they don't have any maintenance capability. All of that are done by American ex-pats (for F-15's) and British (for Tornado's). A side note here: There may be only 4-500 Americans servicing the F-15s, but nearly 3000 Brits to service half that many Tornado's. The joke at Dhahran AB is that the static display of a Tornado on a pedestal at the main gate is the only Tornado that they can keep in the air.
You also have to understand how the money flows to get an even better idea of RSAF readiness (or total lack thereof). All Base commanders usually are members of the Royal family (or married into it) - and it is a money cow. The greatest number of personnel on an RSAF base is TCN's (third-country-nationals), thousands and thousands of Bangladesh, Indian, Philippine workers. Contracts are written up that provide millions in kick-backs - some of course goes to the base commander. But that doesn't even touch the billions of dollars into the purchase of all those aircraft - it's for the kickbacks, not national defense (what do you think the U.S. Air Force is there for?). Now American defense contractors make a killing, why should they care either? For example. first Boeing and then Raytheon made billions on putting in a highly sophisticated air command and control system called "Peace Shield", but it was and remains flawed. One example: The system is suppose to identify friendly vs. hostile aircraft so the Royal Saudi Air Defense Command (that's right a service totally separate from the RSAF)can fire. The RSAF has a control command which is suppose to tell the Air defense people to "hold fire". But what really happens is that when the RSAF pushes the button to command "hold fire" the Air Defense consoles light-up with the command to "fire". As if this minor technical flaw wasn't enough, billions in billing were added to give all these command centers filtered air systems for protection against NBC. Great on paper to make the billing statement, but non-existant in reality. I could go on-and-on about lack of training as well. One example has Saudi maintenence personnel towing a "hot" (just landed) F-15 into a hangar. Plane catches fire, burns up with the hangar. What happened? Well no discipline on the Saudi dumb-asses, but their training records were pulled and numerous ex-pats sent home because they had signed off on training them. Since the training obviously did not stick, it was obviously an ex-pat trainer who was to blame. Not the dumb-asses, not there Saudi NCO or Officer chain-of-command, but ex-pats. The only time a saudi maintenence troop is allowed anywhere near an aircraft with any tool in his hand is when Saudi VIPs are on a tour - it would be funny if these senior RSAF officers knew enough to ask their troops what they maintennce was being done - but they don't. Don't even get into the sub-levels of tribal allegiences that totally disrupts any concept of chain-of-command or military discipline. If you are from the right tribe you get the works, guick promotions (get the answers to your SKT and promotion tests),and other perks - even out-of-Kingdom training (like in the U.S.), even if you just burnt down a hangar on top of a $50M F-15 (oh yes folks the Saudi payment for each aircraft is about double for all those kick-backs to Prince Sultan, Minister of Defense and Aviation (he owns/oversees Saudi Arabian Airlines as well). But if you are one of the few motivated, intelligent members of the RSAF and happen to be from the wrong tribe - well if you were ever a first yearman at VMI/Citadel you sorta get my drift.
To wrap this up, the RSAF is the most efficient branch of the Saudi military (with the exception of it's internal intelligence network) - so you can imagine the horror stories from ex-pats working with the Saudi Land Forces, Naval Forces, or Saudi National Guard.
So that leaves us with the question of who protects all those vast oil fields - that's right, our good old Uncle Sam. Who protects to Royal House of Saud? Well besides keeping their protection money, I mean insurance premiums, paid in full to Osama Bin Laden (who I have every confidence is hiding in one of his families "farms" - oh that is another story for another day about how the Bin Laden Group had the contract to build all the new barracks at Prince Sultan Air Base after the Khobar bombing, sort of a nice/profitable coincidence huh?). Well the Royal family has our military protect their entire country, but they have a fine cadre of ex-CIA, ex-FBI, ex-Navy Seals getting paid very well to be their own private security arm (not unlike Saddam's Republican Guard).