A country’s strength is often determined by its manpower and the ability to defend itself from rivals. Every nation has its special strength in their defense arsenal. Factors such as advanced technologies, training, power, number of allies, size of the army and budget allocated, geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the status of local industry are some of the things that play a major role in determining a country’s strength. In order to have a powerful military force, a country has to also have the ability to fight across land, sea and air. Here, we are considering all those factors and narrowing down the top ten countries with the strongest forces in the world.
With a population of more than 60 million, the country has a total available manpower of 28,000,000, 267,500 military personnel, 828 aircrafts, 425 helicopters, 200 combat tanks, 10,688 armored fighting vehicles, 2 aircraft carriers, 8 submarines and a defense budget of $37,700,000,000. The shortage of tanks and ships is what hurts its ranking. Since WWII, the country has been focusing more on international United Peace operations in many countries around the world.
With a defense budget of $45 billion, 1,45,000 reservists, alongside 714 aircrafts, 432 combat tanks, 81 naval assets, over 6,000 armored vehicles as well as 180,000 well-trained active troops, Germany is well-positioned for a defensive war. The reason why they are most effective at defensive war is due to the lack of aircraft carriers, troop transports and only five submarines. Germany also has a highly developed social market economy, has the largest national economy in Europe and the fourth-largest by nominal GDP in the world.
Turkey has a manpower of 41,640,000 active troops, 360,565 reserve troops, 1,056 aircrafts including fighter jets, 475 helicopters, 3,778 tanks, 9,031 armored fighting vehicles, 418 rocket projectors, 194 naval fleets and 12 submarines. The Turkish military also utilizes cutting edge technology, including some that was purchased from the US like the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (shown above). This technology is extremely advanced and is capable of finding targets of up to 100 miles (160 km) away. The Turkish army purchased 100 of them from the US as well as three US made MQ-1 drones. This places them just behind the US with the second highest number of these drones.
Although Japan has a population of 126,451,398, its military is extremely small. The Japanese military consists of only 250,000 frontline personnel and 57,900 active reserve personnel. Despite this, the country makes up for the lack of manpower with technology and an array of fleets. For instance, the Japanese military is extremely well equipped with 1595 aircrafts and 622 helicopters; making it the world’s fifth largest air force. Apart from the air power, Japan also has the fourth largest submarine fleet and four aircraft carriers.
The Japanese military also contains 679 tanks, 3,178 armored vehicles and a defense budget of $44,000,000,000. In 2016, Japan launched its first military satellite, that is capable of allowing a broader range in communication. The satellite is one of three planned launches.
6. The United Kingdom
The British Army in the UK is charged with national defense and is one of the most highly disciplined and well-trained militaries in the world. Britain’s Special Forces Unit and the SAS are just two of the many elite forces the country has to offer. Apart from that, the UK has 279,230 military personnel, 879 aircrafts, 333 helicopters, 227 combat tanks, 5,371 armored fighting vehicles, 76 naval fleets including two aircraft carriers and 10 submarines, as well as a defense budget of $50,000,000,000.
When it comes to cyber warfare, the UK has GCHQ, an intelligence and security organization, famous for breaking German Enigma Codes during WWII. By 2020, Britain is planning to add additional aircraft carriers that are capable of hauling 40 F-35B joint strike fighters across the globe.
The French military has 204,000 active military personnel and 183,000 in reserve, and the budget stands at $43 billion a year, which is 1.9% of the country’s GDP; much below the spending target as set by NATO. Although these numbers are relatively small when compared with other countries, its forces are equipped with capable equipment produced by a homegrown defense industry. France has 1,282 aircrafts, 570 helicopters, 7,000 armored fighting vehicles, 13 rocket projectors, 118 naval assets including 4 aircraft carriers and 10 submarines.
The Charles de Gaulle is an aircraft carrier possessed by France, which is the only nuclear-powered carrier outside of the United States Navy. Apart from land, sea and air defense, France is also considering adding 3,000 cyber security soldiers.
India continues to look beyond its position as a top military importer to that of top military exporter. In 2014, Britain’s Ministry of Defense projected that by 2045, India could become a global military power with the third largest defense expenditure. The country spends more than $65.4 billion to import a wide-range of technology and military goods. As of 2015, India was the largest importer of military goods, that are capable of tracking subjects across Pakistan and some parts of China.
The country is also capable of launching nuclear warheads from air, land and sea. Apart from that, India has two aircraft carriers, while Russia and China only have one. Other specs include 90-110 warheads, 2,844,750 reserve personnel, 2,185 aircrafts, 720 helicopters, 4,426 combat tanks, 3,147 armored vehicles, 266 rocket projectors and 16 submarines. Today, the country also possesses its first nuclear powered submarine, that is capable of finding targets as far as 466 miles (750 km) away.
China has a military budget of $175 billion. With a population of 1.386 billion, the country has a manpower of 750,000,000 with 2,183,000 active personnel and 510,000 reserve personnel. The Chinese military also possesses 3,035 aircrafts, 985 helicopters, 7,716 tanks, 9,000 armored vehicles, 2,050 rocket projectors, 1 aircraft carrier and 73 submarines. Although China has the biggest military in the world, it lacks transportation for soldiers. According to several news outlets, the country mainly relies on trains to transport soldiers across the mainland. However, the country has had unprecedented success when it comes to cyber warfare.
Despite a relatively small economy, Russia manufactures a large amount of military hardware and is the second largest exporter in the world after the U.S. The country is currently trying to develop the T-14 Armata. If successful, it would be the world’s most advanced tank, boasting active protection systems, an auto-loader, and nearly unbeatable armor.
The country’s military expanded after its current president, Vladimir Putin, came to power in 2000. The 15,400 tank fleet makes Russia the holder of world’s largest tank fleet. Apart from land defense systems, the country’s military also possesses the world’s second largest aircraft fleet with 3,547 aircrafts. However, when it comes to power, Russia still falls far behind the US in terms of power and technology.
1. United States
The U.S. spends the most on its military, both per capita and total. Its Navy has the largest and most aircraft carriers in the world with 11 full-sized carriers and 8 helicopter carriers in service. Its Air Force flies the largest and most technologically advanced air fleet in the world which is just a little larger than the U.S. Navy’s air fleet. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps aren’t the largest of their respective groups worldwide, but they are some of the most capable.
The U.S. outpaces all other nations in military expenditures. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. As of 2017, the US military had 1,400,000 active personnel and 1,100,000 reserve personnel. In order to keep the military forces operational, the country spends $600 billion annually and is also the world’s largest weapons exporter. If that doesn’t put the US on the top of the list, then add the fact that it has 662 overseas bases in 38 foreign countries.