Countries with the most powerful militaries in the world

Countries with the most powerful militaries in the world

Updated on August 16, 2022 09:01 AM by Emily Hazel

The two of the most powerful militaries in the world, i.e., Russia and NATO, are in a face-off position in Ukraine after Moscow invaded Ukraine. It has brought the entire world on edge. Images of bombarded buildings, crowds seeking shelters, groups of refugees, and wounded people in despair are new normal in every type of media. Seeing these, elders always recall memories they always wished to forget.  Military or hard power is always regarded as the true power of a state. However, economic power took over with the end of the Cold War. But, with the tensions increasing between the neighbors and the global powers, military power is back on the world stage to play its role. The list of countries with the most powerful militaries in the world is given below:


Budget - $26.1 billion

Active frontier personnel – 58,000

Tanks – 59

Total aircraft – 408

Submarines – 6

Australia has a relatively small military. The country gets almost bottom rock scores for the total number of aircraft in its fleet. It has fewer scores considering its number of tanks and active personnel.

It ranks high because of its submarines and also attacks helicopters.


Budget – $17 billion

Active frontline personnel – 160, 000

Tanks – 4,170

Total aircraft - 684

Submarines – 5

When it comes to absolute terms, Israel possesses a small military. But, a huge Israeli population is military-ready due to mandatory military service. Historically, Israel has always had an aggressive neighborhood; that's why it has many tanks, aircraft, and attack helicopters. The country has qualitative military advantages with advanced fighter jets, space jets, nuclear weapons, and high-tech armed drones.

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Budget – $10.7 billion

Active frontline personnel – 290,000 

Tanks – 2005

Total aircraft - 804

Submarines – 4

China continuously threatens Taiwan as the latter wants to invade and own it. So, out of compulsion, Taiwan has developed its military to defend itself. The country is fifth in terms of several attack helicopters. Not only this, it has a large number of tanks and a fleet of aircraft.


Budget – $4.4 billion 

Active frontline personnel – 468,500 

Tanks – 4,624

Total aircraft – 1,107

Submarines – 4

Regarding the Middle East, the Egyptian military is among the oldest and largest armed forces. The country has the fifth largest tank fleet in the world. It has more than 1000 M1A1 Abrams tanks – many just lay in storage and have never been used. The US offers substantial financial aid. Egypt has a relatively large aircraft fleet as well.

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Budget – $7 billion

Active frontline personnel – 617,000

Tanks – 2924

Total aircraft – 914 

Submarines – 8

The country has among the largest forces in the world, considering the active personnel. Pakistan also has a large attack helicopter, aircraft, and tank fleet. Moreover, it is said that the country is developing nuclear weapons at such high speed that it could be the country with the third largest nuclear arsenal in the coming decade.

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Budget – $18.2 billion

Active frontline personnel – 415,500

Tanks – 3,778

Total aircraft – 1,020

Submarines – 13 

Turkey has one of the largest armed forces in the Eastern Mediterranean. Although it lacks an aircraft carrier, only five countries in this list have more submarines than Turkey. Also, the country takes pride in its impressive tank fleet, attack helicopters, and numerous aircraft. It is a member of the F-35 program as well.

The United Kingdom

Budget – $60.5 billion             

Active frontline personnel – 146,980

Tanks – 407

Total aircraft – 936 

Submarines – 10

The United Kingdom has always focused on getting technical superiority in the field. Its military consists of some of the highly trained units around the world. This is specifically true in the case of the country's SAS operations and Royal marines.

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Budget – $34 billion

Active frontline personnel – 320,000

Tanks – 586

Total aircraft – 760 

Submarines – 6 

The country has got a high rank in this list due to its two active aircraft carriers. With their large attack helicopter and submarine fleet, these carriers help Italy boost its rank.

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South Korea

Budget – $62 billion

Active frontline personnel – 624,465

Tanks – 2381

Total aircraft – 1,412

Submarines – 13 

South Korea has no choice but to spend a massive amount on its military to have a large and capable armed force in light of the threats its neighbor North Korea poses. Considering this, the country has a comparatively large number of attack helicopters, active personnel, and submarines. It also has numerous tanks and takes pride in its air force capabilities which are the sixth largest in the world.


Budget – $62.3 billion

Active frontline personnel – 202,761

Tanks – 423

Total aircraft – 1,264

Submarines – 10 

The French army is undoubtedly small, but it is highly professional, trained, and capable of force projection. It has a new aircraft carrier like the Charles de Gaulle. The country engages in military deployment regularly all over South Africa to fight extremism and help countries to have stable governments.

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Budget – $50 billion

Active frontline personnel – 1,325,000

Tanks – 6,464

Total aircraft – 1,905

Submarines – 15 

India is among the biggest military powers. Apart from China and the US, it claims the most active manpower. The country also has the most aircraft and tanks after the US, China, and Russia. It possesses nuclear weapons as well.

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Budget – $41.6 billion

Active frontline personnel – 247,173

Tanks – 678

Total aircraft – 1,613

Submarines – 16 

In absolute terms, Japan has a comparatively small military force. Nonetheless, it is brilliantly equipped. The country has the fourth largest submarine fleet on this list. The island nation also brags four aircraft carriers, but these vessels are equipped only with helicopter fleets. Japan's attack helicopter fleet is the fourth largest in the world after China, Russia, and the United States.


Budget – $216 billion 

Active frontline personnel – 2,333,000

Tanks – 9,150

Total aircraft – 2,860

Submarines – 67 

The last few decades have seen rapid growth in the Chinese military regarding capability and size. It is the largest military on this planet regarding raw manpower. The country has the second largest submarine fleet after the United States. Its tank fleet is the second largest in the world after Russia.It has taken leaps and bounds in the military modernization program, resulting in the development of fifth-generation aircraft and ballistic missiles.

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Budget – $84.5 billion

Active frontline personnel – 766,055

Tanks – 15,398

Total aircraft – 3,429

Submarines – 55

The Russian forces are the second most powerful military in the world. It has the largest tank fleet, the second most extensive fleet of aircraft after the US, and the third largest fleet of submarines after the United States and China. Deploying its soldiers in war-torn Syria, Russia has shown its capability to project its force outside its borders.

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The United States

Budget – $601 billion

Active frontline personnel – 1,400,000

Tanks – 8,848

Total aircraft – 13,892

Submarines – 72 

The US spends more on defense than the following nine countries on this list. The country's biggest traditional military advantage is its 10 aircraft carriers. 

It also has a maximum number of aircraft, the latest technology such as the Navy's new rail gun, the largest nuclear arsenal, and well equipped and well-trained human force.






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