The Sudanese Armed Forces numbers, according to 2007 IISS estimates, 104,800 members supported by 17,500 paramilitary personnel. It comprises Land Forces, a Navy, an Air Force, and the Popular Defence Force. It has also formed Joint Integrated Units with its rebel enemies the Sudan People's Liberation Army. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) operate under the authority of the People's Armed Forces Act 1986. In 2004, the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress estimated that the Popular Defence Force, the military wing of the National Islamic Front, consists of 10,000 active members, with 85,000 reserves. It has been deployed alongside regular army units against various rebel groups.
Sudan now receives most of its military equipment from the People's Republic of China and Russia. Sudan has a weapons production company called the Military Industry Corporation, which can produce ammunition, machine guns, and mortars. Production of artillery, rockets, armoured vehicles, Unmanned aerial vehicles, tanks and even light planes is claimed.
The origins of the Sudanese Army date to Sudanese soldiers recruited by the British during the reconquest of Sudan in 1898. Sudan officially became the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in 1899. The highest-ranking British officer in Egypt, known as the Sirdar, also served as Governor General of the Sudan. In 1922, after nationalist riots stimulated by Egyptian leader Saad Zaghloul, Egypt was granted independence by the United Kingdom. The Egyptians wanted more oversight in the Sudan and created specialized units of Sudanese auxiliaries within the Egyptian Army called Al-Awtirah. This became the nucleus of the modern Sudanese Army.
The British Army formed the Sudan Defence Force (SDF) as local auxiliaries in 1925. During World War II, the SDF augmented allied forces engaging Italians in Ethiopia. They also served during the Western Desert Campaign, supporting Free French and Long Range Desert Group operations at Kufra and Jalo oases in the Libyan Desert. "In 1947, the Sudanese military schools were closed, and the number of Sudanese troops was reduced to 7,570. In 1948, the first Arab-Israeli War broke out. Sudanese Colonel Harold Saleh Al-Malik selected 250 combat-seasoned soldiers who had seen action in World War II. They arrived in Cairo to participate in a parade and were then dispatched to various units of the Egyptian army. This was a grave mistake, for the Sudanese had fought together in World War II and this broke unit cohesion. The decision was indicative of Egyptian military planners of the period. Forty-three Sudanese were killed in action in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1953, the British and the new Egyptian government reached an agreement that Sudan was to be put on the path of independence. General Ahmed Mohammed became Sudan's first army chief in August 1954. This is significant for the Sudanese, for it was the first time it had an independent army that was not governed by Britain or Egypt."
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