Special Report

The Strongest Militaries in the World

BDphoto / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

The United States is widely recognized as the top military power in the world, not only for its extensive defense budget but also for its technologically advanced weaponry and global strike capabilities. The U.S. maintains a large and well-equipped armed force, including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. However, it is not the only global military superpower, there are many other nations that have formidable forces capable of waging war around the world. (These are the nations with the largest active duty militaries.)

To determine the 30 countries with the strongest military might, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2024 Military Strength Ranking from Global Firepower, an annually updated defense-related statistics website with information on 145 countries. Global Firepower ranked 145 countries based on their PowerIndex, a composite of over 60 measures in categories such as military might, financials, logistical capability, and geography. The smaller the PowerIndex value the more powerful a nation’s theoretical conventional fighting capability is. We included supplemental information regarding active military personnel, military aircraft, vehicles, and naval power as well.

Another military superpower is Russia, which holds the second position globally. Russia has built upon its Soviet-era military legacy and made significant strides in modernizing its armed forces. Moscow’s military might is evident in its extensive land power and technologically advanced arsenal, even compared against the United States.

Rounding out the top three is China, which has been investing heavily in modernizing its military, specifically its navy. As the third most potent military in the world, the People’s Liberation Army is focused on expanding its capabilities both regionally and beyond. In recent years, production on new aircraft carriers and a series of support ships has been a prime directive.

The world’s strongest militaries possess diverse capabilities and strengths but also have some commonalities. Notably, countries towards the top of this have much larger military budgets and also tend to have much larger air forces. (These are the countries with the most tanks.)

Here is a look at the strongest militaries in the world:

30. Singapore

Source: Seloloving / Wikimedia Commons
  • Military strength score: 0.4087
  • Active military personnel: 51,000
  • Total military aircraft: 247
  • Total military vehicles: 8,318
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 43

29. Sweden

Source: johan_h / iStock via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.4009
  • Active military personnel: 24,400
  • Total military aircraft: 212
  • Total military vehicles: 7,958
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 353

28. Argentina

Source: nickalbi / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.3823
  • Active military personnel: 108,000
  • Total military aircraft: 229
  • Total military vehicles: 21,724
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 41

27. Canada

Source: 2020 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.3813
  • Active military personnel: 68,000
  • Total military aircraft: 375
  • Total military vehicles: 18,054
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 67

26. Algeria

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Military strength score: 0.3589
  • Active military personnel: 325,000
  • Total military aircraft: 605
  • Total military vehicles: 35,990
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 213

25. Thailand

Source: Goldquest / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.3389
  • Active military personnel: 360,850
  • Total military aircraft: 501
  • Total military vehicles: 14,040
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 293

24. Taiwan

Source: presidentialoffice / Flickr
  • Military strength score: 0.3302
  • Active military personnel: 215,000
  • Total military aircraft: 750
  • Total military vehicles: 19,868
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 93

23. Saudi Arabia

Source: Photo by Abid Katib / Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.3235
  • Active military personnel: 257,000
  • Total military aircraft: 914
  • Total military vehicles: 20,694
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 57

22. Vietnam

Source: Terry Fincher / Hulton Archive via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.3158
  • Active military personnel: 600,000
  • Total military aircraft: 226
  • Total military vehicles: 18,578
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 97

21. Poland

Source: Kamila Kozioå‚ (Koziolkamila) / iStock via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.2917
  • Active military personnel: 202,100
  • Total military aircraft: 468
  • Total military vehicles: 13,956
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 45

20. Spain

Source: ManuelVelasco / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.2882
  • Active military personnel: 133,282
  • Total military aircraft: 513
  • Total military vehicles: 15,046
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 168

19. Germany

Source: ewg3D / iStock via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.2847
  • Active military personnel: 181,600
  • Total military aircraft: 618
  • Total military vehicles: 79,317
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 64

18. Ukraine

Source: president_of_ukraine / Flickr
  • Military strength score: 0.2598
  • Active military personnel: 900,000
  • Total military aircraft: 321
  • Total military vehicles: 22,110
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 104

17. Israel

Source: usembassyjlm / Flickr
  • Military strength score: 0.2596
  • Active military personnel: 170,000
  • Total military aircraft: 612
  • Total military vehicles: 43,407
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 67

16. Australia

Source: west_point / Flickr
  • Military strength score: 0.2515
  • Active military personnel: 57,350
  • Total military aircraft: 325
  • Total military vehicles: 16,162
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 43

15. Egypt

Source: MC3 Scott Pittman/usnavy / Flickr
  • Military strength score: 0.2283
  • Active military personnel: 440,000
  • Total military aircraft: 1,080
  • Total military vehicles: 77,596
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 140

14. Iran

Source: Majid Saeedi / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.2269
  • Active military personnel: 610,000
  • Total military aircraft: 551
  • Total military vehicles: 65,765
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 101

13. Indonesia

Source: AWG97 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Military strength score: 0.2251
  • Active military personnel: 400,000
  • Total military aircraft: 474
  • Total military vehicles: 11,604
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 333

12. Brazil

Source: pabst_ell / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.1944
  • Active military personnel: 360,000
  • Total military aircraft: 628
  • Total military vehicles: 44,044
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 134

11. France

Source: Gwengoat / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.1878
  • Active military personnel: 200,000
  • Total military aircraft: 972
  • Total military vehicles: 85,023
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 128

10. Italy

Source: naphtalina / iStock via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.1863
  • Active military personnel: 165,500
  • Total military aircraft: 800
  • Total military vehicles: 61,892
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 309

9. Pakistan

Source: dvids / Flickr
  • Military strength score: 0.1711
  • Active military personnel: 654,000
  • Total military aircraft: 1,434
  • Total military vehicles: 50,523
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 114

8. Turkey

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Military strength score: 0.1697
  • Active military personnel: 355,200
  • Total military aircraft: 1,069
  • Total military vehicles: 55,104
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 186

7. Japan

Source: Chris McGrath / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.1601
  • Active military personnel: 247,150
  • Total military aircraft: 1,459
  • Total military vehicles: 37,662
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 155

6. United Kingdom

Source: ikholwadia / iStock via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.1443
  • Active military personnel: 184,860
  • Total military aircraft: 664
  • Total military vehicles: 27,203
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 117

5. South Korea

Source: Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.1416
  • Active military personnel: 600,000
  • Total military aircraft: 1,576
  • Total military vehicles: 66,492
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 200

4. India

Source: BDphoto / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.1023
  • Active military personnel: 1,455,550
  • Total military aircraft: 2,296
  • Total military vehicles: 151,248
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 294

3. China

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.0706
  • Active military personnel: 2,035,000
  • Total military aircraft: 3,304
  • Total military vehicles: 174,300
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 730

2. Russia

Source: rusm / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Military strength score: 0.0702
  • Active military personnel: 1,320,000
  • Total military aircraft: 4,255
  • Total military vehicles: 161,382
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 781

1. United States

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Military strength score: 0.0699
  • Active military personnel: 1,328,000
  • Total military aircraft: 13,209
  • Total military vehicles: 360,069
  • Total navy ships and submarines: 472

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