The world's most powerful militaries in 2023, ranked
Global Firepower ranked 145 countries based on their military power.
It said the US, China, and Russia rank highest, with some surprises further down the list.
See below for the world's 25 strongest militaries in 2023.
Global Firepower's 2023 Military Strength Ranking lists 145 countries in order of their overall strength.
The ranking considers factors including the amount of military equipment and troops each country has, as well as their financial standing, geography, and avaliable resources.
It uses these factors to generate a PowerIndex score, with a score closer to zero indicating a more powerful military.
Here's how the top 25 countries stack up:
While 25th overall, with a PowerIndex score of 0.3881, Global Firepower ranked Germany in the top 20 globally in areas including total aircraft fleet strength, helicopter strength, and its total armored fighting vehicle fleet.
It said that as of January 2023, Germany had around 601 aircraft, 266 tanks, and 287 helicopters.
The country also had the fifth-highest defense budget, of around $52.3 billion, behind only the US, China, Russia, and India. It also benefits from being a core part of NATO.
Global Firepower ranked Thailand in the top 20 in terms of total available population fit for military service, and total available active military manpower.
As of January 2023, Thailand's available manpower was over 36 million people, Global Firepower said, resulting in a PowerIndex score of 0.3738.
Understandably, given its long coastlines, Thailand has a strong navy, and while it has no aircraft carriers, its total naval assets (292), which includes six corvettes and seven frigates, are the 8th largest in the world, Global Firepower said.
Global Firepower ranked Taiwan first in terms of total available reserve military manpower, with around 1.5 million reserve personnel as of April 2023, the equivalent of 6.4% of the country's population.
Taiwan, which was given a PowerIndex score of 0.3639, also ranked highly in terms of air power, with 285 fighter aircraft and 91 attack helicopters, both the 8th largest fleets of those kinds in the world, according to Global Firepower.
22: Saudi Arabia
Global Firepower ranked Saudi Arabia second when it came to its total aerial tanker aircraft fleet strength, and in the top 20 in areas including total helicopter strength, total oil production, natural gas production, and total available active military manpower.
The country had 22 aerial tanker aircraft as of January 2023, with Saudi Arabia the second-biggest oil producer in the world, after the US.
Its defense budget of $46 billion was also the eighth highest in the world.
Global Firepower gave the country a PowerIndex score of 0.3626.
Global Firepower ranked Spain as having the 21st most powerful military in the world in 2023, and a top-20 power in areas including its total transport fleet strength, total fighter/interceptor aircraft strength, number of submarines, and also its number of available ports.
Spain is also one of the few countries in the world with a helicopter carrier, and its fleet of 11 frigates places it 7th globally in that category.
The country, which was given a PowerIndex score of 0.3556, also had 140 fighter aircraft and two submarines as of January 2023.
Global Firepower ranked Poland in the top 20 in areas including its total helicopter strength, its armored fighting vehicle fleet strength, its total number of mine and countermine warfare ships, and its total number of submarine craft.
It said that as of December 2022, Poland had 208 helicopters and more than 50,000 armored fighting vehicles, giving it a PowerIndex score of 0.3406.
Global Firepower ranked Vietnam in the top 10 in areas including total available active military manpower and its total Self-Propelled Gun vehicle fleet strength.
It said that as of January 2023, Vietnam had more than 53 million people who count as available military manpower, with an estimated 470,000 active military personnel (9th highest in the world), in addition to 2.5 million reserves.
It gave Vietnam a PowerIndex score of 0.2855.
Eighteenth overall, Global Firepower ranked Israel in the top 20 in areas like its total fighter/interceptor aircraft strength, its total aircraft fleet strength, and its total available reserve military manpower.
It said that Israel, which it gave a PowerIndex score of 0.2757, had 601 military aircraft as of January 2023, with 241 of those being fighters. It also had 2,200 tanks, as well as a stock of 650 pieces of self-propelled artillery.
Israel ranks low when it comes to naval assets, with just 67 vessels, of which 45 are offshore patrol vessels, though its fleet of five submarines is the 16th largest in the world, according to Global Firepower.
Global Firepower ranked Iran in the top 10 in areas including its total combat tank fleet strength, total self-propelled Multiple Launch Rocket Projector vehicle fleet strength, and its total available active military manpower.
It said that as of January 2023, Iran had more than 4,000 tanks and more than 1,000 rocket projectors. Its active military personnel of 575,000 was the seventh largest in the world.
Overall it gave the country a PowerIndex score of 0.2712.
With the sixth highest defense budget in the world, Global Firepower ranked Australia in the top 10 in areas including its total aerial tanker aircraft fleet strength, total number of helicopter carrier warships, total natural gas production, and its number of roadways, airports, and major ports.
While its active military personnel was just 60,500 (61st largest), the country has two helicopter carriers (4th) and six aerial tanker aircraft, making its fleet the eighth largest in the world
It gave Australia a PowerIndex score of 0.2567.
Global Firepower said Ukraine increased its ranking compared to last year due to its response to Russia's invasion, and the military help, including weapons, it is getting from its allies.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, expecting to take the country in a matter of days. Instead, it was pushed back to the east, where both sides are now grinding it out on the battlefield, with no signs the conflict will end any time soon.
Global Firepower ranked Ukraine 10th overall for its number of self-propelled Multiple Launch Rocket Projectors, saying that as of April 2023 it had 647 of them. It gave the country a PowerIndex score of 0.2516.
Global Firepower ranked Egypt in the top 10 in areas including total available active military manpower, available paramilitary force strength, and total available reserve manpower, as well as the strength of its aircraft fleet.
It said Egypt had more than 1,000 military aircraft as of January 2023, and that it had 300,000 people who can be considered part of its paramilitary forces.
It gave Egypt a PowerIndex score of 0.2224.
Global Firepower ranked Indonesia in the top 5 worldwide in areas including its total available population fit for military service, total available population reaching military age on an annual basis, and its total number of offshore patrol boats and corvette warships.
It said that, as of January 2023, more than 112 million Indonesians were eligible for military service, 40.7% of the country's population.
It gave Indonesia a PowerIndex score of 0.2221.
Global Firepower ranked Brazil in the top 5 in areas including its available population that is fit for military service, its total transport fleet strength, and its number of total serviceable airports.
The country has over 4,000 airports, the second-highest in the world, as well as 17 ports and trade terminals, the fifth highest in this category.
Global Firepower said that Brazil had more than 87 million people fit for military service as of January 2023, 40.3% of the country's population.
It gave Brazil a PowerIndex score of 0.2151.
Global Firepower said Turkey is "undoubtedly a rising military power, relying evermore on local industry to satisfy equally-local defense requirements on land, on sea, and in the air. "
It ranked the country in the top 10 in areas including aircraft fleet strength, transport fleet strength, and helicopter strength.
It said Turkey had 1,065 military aircraft as of January 2023, giving it a PowerIndex score of 0.2016.
Global Firepower ranked Italy in the top 10 in areas including its aerial tanker aircraft fleet, total helicopter strength, attack aircraft strength, and its total number of aircraft carrier warships.
It said Italy had 404 helicopters, including 58 attack helicopters, and two aircraft carrier warships as of January 2023.
It gave Italy a PowerIndex score of 0.1973.
Global Firepower ranked France, ninth overall, in the top 10 in areas including total aerial tanker aircraft fleet, total helicopter fleet, and number of destroyer warships, as well as its total transport fleet strength.
It said France had 438 helicopters, including 69 attack helicopters, and 10 destroyer warships as of January 2023, giving it a PowerIndex score of 0.1848.
Global Firepower ranked Japan in the top 10 for its aircraft fleet strength, total helicopter strength, and armored fighting vehicle fleet strength.
An island nation, Japan was the highest-ranked nation when it came to major ports, and with four helicopter carriers it ranked second in that category, as well as second (behind only the US) when it came to the strength of its special-mission aircraft fleet – platforms specifically developed to undertake an over-battlefield role "by utilization of advanced onboard equipment or specialized trait."
Global Firepower said that Japan had more than 1,400 military aircraft, and more than 111,000 vehicles as of January 2023, with a PowerIndex score of 0.1711.
Pakistan rose from ninth overall in 2022 to seventh on the list in 2023.
While Pakistan had more than 3,700 tanks, 1,400 military aircraft, nine submarines, and 654,000 active military personnel as of January 2023, Global Firepower said its rise was also due to this year's rankings having a bigger focus on natural resources and shared borders.
Pakistan neighbors Afghanistan, China, India, and Iran, and has a lot of coal, as well as some petroleum and natural gas fields.
Global Firepower ranked Pakistan in the top 10 in areas including its total available population fit for military service, total available active military manpower, and total aircraft fleet strength, with a PowerIndex score of 0.1694.
6: South Korea
The strength of South Korea's military is no surprise giving its decades-old tensions with North Korea.
Global Firepower ranked South Korea in the top five for its aircraft fleet strength, armored fighting vehicle fleet strength, and its helicopter strength. It said the Asian nation had more than 133,000 vehicles and 739 helicopters, including 112 attack helicopters, as of January 2023.
Overall, it gave South Korea a PowerIndex score of 0.1505.
Global Firepower said the UK's position was boosted by its strengths in manpower and airpower, as well as its strong financial position. "It is also one of the few powers to operate more than one aircraft carrier," it added.
The UK currently has two aircraft carriers, equal to the number that China, Italy, and India have, but far fewer than the 11 that the US operates.
Global Firepower ranked the UK in the top 10 in areas including its total number of available ports and its total aerial tanker aircraft fleet strength, giving the country a PowerIndex score of 0.1435.
India's strength lies in the size of its population. Global Firepower ranked India second for available manpower, total available active military manpower, and paramilitary force strength.
It said India's avaliable manpower was more than 653 million people, 47% of the country's population, as of January 2023. It also said that India had almost 1.5 million active military personnel.
It gave India a PowerIndex score of 0.1025.
Global Firepower ranked China first for available manpower and for the strength of its naval fleet.
China has a "distinct advantage economically and by way of sheer manpower and has placed a decided focus on increasing (primarily through local means) naval, airpower, and land warfare capabilities," Global Firepower said in its latest ranking.
If the trend continues, it added, China "will become the primary global military adversary to the United States."
According to Global Firepower, China has available military manpower of more than 761 million people as of April 2023, along with 50 destroyer warships and 78 submarines, among many other military assets.
It gave China a PowerIndex score of 0.0722.
While its military's reputation has taken a hit since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia retained its second-place spot on Global Firepower's ranking.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine "showcased key limitations in Russian military capabilities despite its quantitative manpower and material advantage over neighboring Ukraine," Global Firepower said. It added that China was moving closer to taking the runnerup spot.
Global Firepower ranked Russia second in areas including total aircraft fleet strength and total transport fleet strength. It said that, as of January 2023, Russia had more than 4,100 military aircraft.
While Russia has faced a number of military setbacks since it launched its invasion of Ukraine, losing considerable quantities of equipment, notably tanks, its airforce and navy has largely avoided damage.
Overall, Global Firepower gave Russia a PowerIndex score of 0.0714.
Global Firepower said the US took the top spot as it "showcases commanding numbers in key material, financial, and resource categories."
The US, which was given a PowerIndex score of 0.0712, leads the world technologically, it said, and is advanced in key medical, aerospace, and telecom sectors, while maintaining an edge in several major industry markets "allowing for a certain degree of self-sustainment."
With 92 destroyers, 11 aircraft carriers, 13,300 aircraft, and 983 attack helicopters, as of April 2023, the country was ranked first in many areas, including the size of its aircraft fleet, number of warships, and its transport fleet strength.
It also had by far the largest defense budget, of $761.7 billion, more than triple that of China in second place, which had a defense budget of $230 billion.
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