10 Most Powerful Armies in The World

By Antonia Čirjak on January 8 2020 in Society

 For now, the extremely powerful armies of Russia, India, and China will have to get even stronger to challenge the US.
For now, the extremely powerful armies of Russia, India, and China will have to get even stronger to challenge the US.

Determining how powerful an army is done by calculating the power index of a country. It is a multi-factor analysis that considers the size of the military, their finances, and the level of technological advancements done in the military industry. A final number is called the Global Fire Power Index, and here is which 10 countries and their armies are on the top ten list.

10. Germany

Three german soldiers discuss a plan of action. Coordinate the team.
Three german soldiers discuss a plan of action. Coordinate the team.

Starting from the back, we find Germany who invests close to $45 million every year, financing the military. Arguably the most powerful economy in Europe does not spend ‘’that much’’ as one would presume. Reasons for that are the general population is less prone to military activities after the events of World War II, where Germany has seen a steady decline in people that join the military. In 2011, people were no longer obliged to serve in the military by law. However, Germany still has more than 180,000 people active in military workforces, alongside with 145,000 reservists. They have an airforce of 710 units, and almost 5,000 units that are involved in ground operations. 

9. Turkey

Soldiers walking at Gundogdu square alsancak.
Soldiers walking at Gundogdu square alsancak. Credit: arda savasciogullari / Shutterstock.com

Currently, under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a president with practically limitless powers, Turkey is a significant investor in their army. Surrounded by various struggles in the Middle East, the Kurds, the Islamic State, and the battles in Syria, it does not come as a surprise that Turkey has an $18.8 billion budget to finance the military industry. They count 660,000 of both active and reserve troops with an airforce that counts a 1000 units, while they have 16,000 units available on the ground.  

8. United Kingdom

British special forces soldiers with weapon take part in military maneuver.
British special forces soldiers with weapon take part in military maneuver.

With a budget of $54 billion currently invested in the armed forces, the UK army does not hold so many active military personnel. The number of their regular forces is around 205,000, and the Royal Air Force counts 908 aircrafts available. The Royal Navy is also very small compared with other armies on this list, having only 66 ships in their fleet. However, the UK army is very technologically advanced, and their main power comes from the 160 nuclear heads they have. 

7. South Korea

South Korean soldiers march during the country's 70th anniversary of independence from Japanese colonization. Credit: Shi_Kaiming / Shutterstock.com
South Korean soldiers march during the country's 70th anniversary of independence from Japanese colonization.

Considering how close North Korea is, another powerful army in possession of nuclear warheads, it seems reasonable that the country’s investment in their defenses is around $34 billion. The number of available troops is counting more than 640,000 people, while a staggering number of 2,900,000 people stand in reserve. They have some serious firepower in the air, with 1,393 aircraft. Along with that, they own around 15,000 ground operating units, together with 2,346 tanks. 

6. Japan

 Chinese soldiers attend a parade at Tiananmen square on November 8, 2012 in Beijing, China. Credit: Hung Chung Chih / Shutterstock.com
Chinese soldiers attend a parade at Tiananmen square on November 8, 2012 in Beijing, China

Ever since the peace treaty after World War II, Japan was prohibited from having an army that will take offensive actions. However, with China’s influence over the whole Asian continent, Japan saw an increase in the budget that goes towards military forces. With investments of $49 billion in a year, Japan has more than 247,000 people as active military staff and an airforce of 1,595 planes. Their naval power is also considerable, having 131 warships at their disposal. 

5. France

Modern French soldiers.
Modern French soldiers.

Being close neighbors with Germany, the French government also froze many investments for military purposes. Their budget still stands at $43 billion a year and is below the target suggested by the NATO. The number of people active in the military is just above 220,000, with 500,000 reservists. They count 1,000 aircraft and 9,000 ground operating units. Again, the ‘’real’’ power lies in their nuclear power, which is 290 warheads. 

4. India

Indian army practice their parade during republic day.
Indian army practice their parade during republic day. credit: SumanBhaumik / Shutterstock.com

With India currently being the second most populated country in the world, with more than 1.3 billion people currently living there, it does not surprise they have an army of 1.325 million people, with more than 2 million reservists. With a budget of $55 billion, they are in possession of almost 1,800 aircraft, 16,000 vehicles on land that includes 3,500 tanks. The official numbers on their nuclear warheads are not in agreement. Still, it is estimated that they are in possession of close to 200 ballistic missiles.

3. China

Chinese soldiers on celebration of May 1 Day, 2010 in Beijing, China.
Chinese soldiers on celebration of May 1 Day, 2010 in Beijing, China Credit: Alexander Ryabintsev / Shutterstock.com

The most populated country in the world counts 2.285 million people active in the military and another 2.3 million in reserve. Along with 25,000 vehicles on land, this makes China the world’s biggest land force. This is all covered with a budget of $125 billion, which includes a powerful air force of 2,800 planes and around 300 nuclear warheads. These numbers are most likely to go up significantly in the years that are ahead of us because China will probably see an increase in its military budget by another 12.2%. 

2. Russia

General rehearsal of the military parade of the 72nd anniversary of the Victory in the great Patriotic war.
General rehearsal of the military parade of the 72nd anniversary of the Victory in the great Patriotic war. Credit: Degtyaryov Andrey / Shutterstock.com

Another country that is expected to extend its military budget in the next few years by more than 40%, Russia is the current leader when it comes to the number of nuclear warheads in the possession, which is almost 8,500. With a current budget of $76.6 billion, Russia is financing more than 760,000 active and close to 2.5 million reserve army. They are also leading when it comes to the number of tanks they have, reaching as high as 15,500 heavily armed vehicles. 

1. United States of America

Soldiers are Using Drone for Scouting During Military Operation in the Desert.
Soldiers are Using Drone for Scouting During Military Operation in the Desert.

With a mind-blowing budget of $612.5 billion spent on military purposes, which is more than all of the previous 9 entries on this list combined, the United States has scored the best on the Global Fire Power Index. The US has a big army of 1.4 million soldiers, with another 800,000 in reserve. They are the world’s leader when it comes to the air force, with 13,398 aircraft that include 5,760 helicopters. They also own the biggest fleet that can carry those aircraft, counting 19 large ships. When it comes to the number of nuclear warheads that are active, they are very close behind Russia with 7,500 warheads. 

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