In today’s world, the militaries of many countries are allied. With coalitions, partnerships and plenty of combined force usage, the idea of a singular country fighting another is almost as foreign to us as a tank may have been to the armies of the American Revolution. However, many countries still take pride in being among the best around, without the strength of allies lent to them. Here, we take a look at the 10 most powerful militaries in the world. To properly measure for this rating, we will take into account such factors as overall military force, recruitment, potential draft pool, technological and logistic capacities, and finally, territory as a determination of invasion defense capacity (though this measure will be somewhat muted given the modern nature of war). Due to the deterrent nature of such weapons, the world’s nuclear arsenal are not included in this ranking set.
Budget: $18.2 billion
Active frontline personnel: 410,500
Total aircraft: 1,020
It was perhaps the struggle of the other countries sharing borders with the regions where the Islamic State has a strong presence, the struggle in Syria or the probability of clashes with the Kurdish separatist organization, PKK, which made Turkey realize that it needs to prepare itself to face danger head on, if and when it approaches, and decide to increase its investment in defence in 2015 by 10%. Its defence budget is at $18.18 billion. Its army size, including regular troops and reserves, is just above 660,000. Turkey’s air force has 1000 aircraft. The military also claims to 16,000 land weapons. It has strong diplomatic ties with the US, and partakes in initiatives around the world.
Budget: $17 billion
Active frontline personnel: 160,000
Total aircraft: 684
Starting off our list of the top 10 most powerful militaries of the world is the Israeli military. Despite being last on this list in terms of supply and power within borders, Israel plenty of power in terms of partnerships, having created a mutually beneficial partnership with nearly every nation on this list hereafter. Most of the army of Israel is very well equipped and being one of the most research intensive domestic economies in the world, new defense measures are nearly always being developed. At time of writing, most aircraft for the Israeli Air Force is either given or on loan from the United States, while many drones, land carriers and weapons are made within the country. Most renowned for their intelligence and special operations groups, Israel’s defense is one of practicality; The larger numbers may not always determine the winner in war, but the apt use of what you do have may turn the tide of battle.
Budget: $40.2 billion
Active frontline personnel: 179,046
Total aircraft: 663
Next up is Germany, often considered one of the top powerhouses in Europe regarding military might. Having built itself back up from the days of East and West Germany, this nation is one of the only NATO nations to ever use Russian manufactured military aircraft in their service. With an annual defense budget of over $36 billion, Germany is well funded, and despite having both a lower aircraft and naval count, the overall forces are significantly higher in terms of raw numbers. With a high number of both active and reserve personnel, as well as highly advanced training against terrorist measures, Germany certainly is well founded to be within the top 8 of the worlds militaries.
7. South Korea
Budget: $62.3 billion
Active frontline personnel: 624,465
Total aircraft: 1,412
South Korea shares its border with North Korea which has an extremely powerful army at its disposal, and hence, is a constant threat to South Korea. But, its offensive neighbour is not its only problem. To meet the increasing armament of China and Japan, South Korea has been increasing its defence expenditure, which is now $34 billion. It maintains a large army of over 640,000 active personnel and 2,900,000 additional personnel in the reserve, alongside the 6th largest air force with 1,393 aircraft, as well as a small 166 ships. The country has about 15,000 land weapons, including rocket systems, as well as 2,346 tanks. It routinely participates in military training with the US.
Budget: $62.3 billion
Active frontline personnel: 202,761
Total aircraft: 1,264
While often made fun of as the “White Flag Army”, France has a remarkably powerful military. Having the 2nd largest force in the EU, the 10th largest budget for it worldwide, and (though not counted here) the third largest nuclear arsenal worldwide makes it quite the powerful force. Of particular renown are the French Foreign Legion , whose candidates come from all over the world to prove themselves to be some of the toughest soldiers in the world, often refusing to give an inch until their last man has fallen. The forces of the French military (active and combined) reach just over 400,000 and nearly 1,300 aircraft, there are plenty of soldiers for France which don’t believe surrender is an option. Another of these groups is the famous GIGN, which acts both as a specialized counter terrorist force, as well as a special police service for particularly bad situations within the country.