On January 4th, Scramble Facebook News found that Jordan is selling its military aircraft as well as military ships, including special forces ones.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) put up a big portion of its military aircraft for sale on September 26th, with more being put up for sale in December.
“The UH-60Ls are assigned to 30th Squadron while the AC235s are part of 32nd Squadron, both units are part of the Prince Hashim Bin Abdullah II Royal Aviation Brigade (PHRB) operating out of King Abdullah II AB, Algabawi area.
The Gunships were, until recently, deployed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from where they operated over Yemen under the Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen.”
Other aircraft that are for sale:
According to the report, the sale is part of a wide-ranging rationalization and cost-cutting program initiated by the current RJAF Commander Major General Yousef A. Al Hnaity.
The outlet also mentioned a rumor:
“The MD530FF Little Bird assault helicopters operated by 28th Squadron are also close to being sold. If that happens, only 8th Squadron (operating brand new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters) will remain PHRB and it begs the question what will happen with this brigade.”
If the rumor is true, that means the Quick Reaction Force, which the 8th squadron forms will also be reduced.
This all follows a package of reforms in the summer of 2017, launched by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Freihat. Many of them appeared to be driven by budgetary concerns. Three measures were taken:
- The JORSOCOM headquarters were deactivated and the highest ranking special forces commander was downgraded a major general to a colonel-rank officer;
- The 28th Royal Ranger Brigade was transitioned out of special operations and integrated with the regular army as a rapid response brigade;
- The 5th Aviation Brigade was transitioned out of special operations command to the Jordanian Air Force.
“The result of reforms is to condense a three-brigade Joint Special Operations Command down to a single army-specific group – known as the King Abdullah II Royal Special Operation Forces Group – with most support elements, including administration and logistics, stripped away.”
Furthermore, the number of special forces was significantly reduced:
“While Jordanian special forces previously had 7,000 operators on paper, U.S. special forces officials shared that the actual number was significantly lower and that JORSOCOM had faced challenges in maintaining the force at full strength. Further, the official number of operators would be reduced to 1,000 as a result of the reforms.”
These cuts come amid a complicated political and social situation in the country in 2018, with protests taking place between May 30th and June 7th against rising prices, especially of food. As a result on June 7th, newly appointed Prime Minister Omar Razzaz met with trade unions and agreed to withdraw a proposed tax bill, which was aimed at fighting tax evasion and significantly raised taxes on some sectors and individuals.