Top 10 Strongest Armies in the World

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Unfortunately, it appears necessary for a country to have an army. It would be naive to think that only with good agreements, negotiations and diplomacy the sovereignty of a country can be guaranteed. Once an imperious leader comes to power, he quickly turns a blind eye to a less powerful neighbour. Human history has shown time and again, even in our 21st century, that a country needs an army to protect itself.

Waging war in our modern age has acquired a very dangerous side: since the development of nuclear weapons , humanity can self-destruct. With the outbreak of World War III, we risk that there will be no winners or losers, only a totally destroyed world. There are currently some 9,920 known nuclear weapons on Earth, but only 100 of them are enough to end our civilization for good.

This does not alter the fact that many countries only feel safe by investing a lot of money in a strong army. Below is a list of the 10 strongest armies in the world, taking into account 50 different factors.

last update June 2018

10. The Egyptian Army

Egypt is a country in North Africa that borders Israel. The country is located in the hotbed of the Middle East, an area where conflicts between all kinds of population groups have been going on for many decades. It is therefore not surprising that Egypt invests heavily in a powerful army.

The Egyptian army has an annual budget of about 4.4 billion dollars and has more than 454,000 active soldiers. The army can also count on the support of 875,000 reservists. The army is the largest part of the Egyptian armed forces and has more than 4,000 tanks at its disposal. The Egyptian Air Force has more than 1,100 aircraft, including 228 F-16s. Two aircraft carriers fly the Egyptian flag.

The Egyptian army is the largest of all African countries. In the 20th century, the Egyptian armed forces took part in 4 wars against Israel and in Operation Desert Storm, the air offensive against Iraq in the first Gulf War.

9. The German Bundeswehr

German army

The German armed forces are of course known for their role in the First and Second World Wars. Defeated Germany was occupied by foreign powers after World War II. In 1955, the country received permission to re-establish its own army: the Bundeswehr. 

Today, the Bundeswehr is deployed as a member of NATO in numerous foreign missions. The German army can count on a budget of 39.2 billion dollars, has 180,000 active soldiers and 30,000 reservists. The air force of the Bundeswehr has 698 aircraft, including multirole combat aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Panavia Tornado.

8. The Turkish Army

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Turkey’s armed forces make up the most powerful Muslim country’s army in this list. The Turkish army is part of NATO and consists of five parts: the army, air force, navy, gendarmerie and coast guard. The Turkish army was founded in 1920 and has its roots in the former Ottoman Empire.

The Turks spend an annual budget of $8.2 billion on their army, which has 383,000 active soldiers. In times of unrest or war, 361,000 reservists can also be called up. The army is the most important part of the Turkish armed forces. The Turkish Air Force has a significant number of American F-16s. The intention is that in the future these F-16s will gradually be replaced by American F-35s and by Turkish-made fighter aircraft: the TAI TFX.

7. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces

japanese army

US Army

After the bloody role of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II, Japan’s military was greatly reduced and transformed into the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. The military’s role is restricted by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which allows self-defense only if the country is attacked. 

The Japanese Self-Defense Forces have therefore never taken part in a real offensive. The Japanese army does play a role in peacekeeping and relief operations.
Because of the threat posed by countries such as North Korea and China, Japan has invested heavily in its military in recent decades. The annual military budget is $43.8 billion. The army has almost 249,000 active troops and 63,300 reservists.

6. The United Kingdom Army

english lger

The British army was once the most powerful in the world. The United Kingdom once ruled nearly a third of the world’s population and possessed an empire in which the sun never set. Those heydays are long gone, but the British military is still one of the most modern, powerful and technologically advanced in the world. The British armed forces also have nuclear weapons.

The United Kingdom government spends more than $45 billion annually on its military. Formally, Queen Elisabeth II is commander-in-chief, but in reality the command rests with the British Prime Minister and the cabinet. In recent years, the British army has only participated in operations within an international coalition. The last large-scale unilateral action by the British army took place during the Falklands War in 1982. Today, the British armed forces have more than 151,000 active soldiers and 81,500 reservists.

5. The French Army

french army

Pierre Delattre/wikimediacommons

As the fourth largest nuclear power, France possesses approximately 300 nuclear weapons. Most are nuclear missiles that can be fired from submarines and combat aircraft. The French army has an enormous military clout. This evidence was provided when, after the Paris attacks in November 2015, the French government was able to mobilize its air force within 48 hours to fight ISIS.

The French army receives an annual budget of $35 billion, employs approximately 204,000 active soldiers and approximately 184,000 reservists. The elite part of the French army is the Foreign Legion, into which recruits are admitted from various countries. Currently, the Foreign Legion consists of 150 different nationalities.

With 112,800 men, the army is the largest part of the French army. The Air Force has 57,000 military personnel and more than 1,200 military aircraft, including 600 fighters. One of the most sophisticated combat aircraft is built in France: the Dassault Rafale. In addition, 4 French aircraft carriers are sailing in the world’s seas.

4. The Army of India

indian army

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India is also a nuclear power. The country once belonged to the powerful British Empire, but gained independence in 1947. Now it possesses an army more powerful than the British army. India spends $51 billion annually on its armed forces. No fewer than 1,363,000 active soldiers are part of the Indian army. In addition, the armed forces can count on the help of 2,845,000 reservists.

The army of India has a huge amount of tanks (more than 4,400) for the defense of its vast territory. About 2,100 military aircraft are part of the Indian Air Force, including many Russian Sukhoi fighter jets.

3. The People’s Liberation Army of China

china army

Alexander Ryabintsev / Shutterstock.com

China, one of the oldest and largest countries in the world, has an enormously powerful army. The Chinese government spends more than $161 billion annually on military spending. The People’s Liberation Army of China has the largest number of active military personnel in the world: more than 2,260,000. Add to this another 1,452,500 reservists and you have a military that can count on more than 3,712,500 men in times of war.

China’s 68 military submersibles in particular attract attention. China is also present in space and has already launched 113 military satellites into orbit. The Chinese Air Force uses 2,955 military aircraft. China is developing the Chengdu J-20, a 5th generation fighter aircraft with stealth technology.

2. The Russian Army

The Russian Army
A Russian Army Major directs his 27th Guards Motorized Rifle Division troops on the flightline at McConnell AFB in front of the IL-76 transport.
The Russians are participating in Peacekeeper ’95, the first time that Russian troops have trained on American soil.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the “Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” was established in 1992. The commander in chief is the Russian president. Russia spent $44.6 billion on its military last year. The armed forces have about 798,000 active soldiers and can call on 2,572,500 reservists.

The vast Russian territory is defended by more than 15,000 tanks (some sources speak of more than 20,000 tanks), the largest tank fleet in the world. The state-of-the-art Russian anti-aircraft defense system S-400 can shoot down any fighter jet within a 400-kilometer radius and was recently deployed in Syria. Russia is also one of the largest nuclear powers in the world.

1. The United States Army

american army

In undisputed first place is the United States military. This is immediately apparent from the annual military budget: $587 billion! Commander in Chief is the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world.

The United States Armed Forces have approximately 798,000 active personnel on duty, and can call in an additional 990,000 reservists. The United States Armed Forces consists of the US Army, the US Marine Corps (marines, elite unit), the US Navy (navy), the US Air Force (air force) and the US Coast Guard (the coast guard).

The US Air Force owns approximately 13,800 military aircraft. More than 10 US aircraft carriers are deployed worldwide and 72 submarines are in operation. The United States also leads the way in the number of nuclear weapons and has a military preponderance in space.
The US military operates all over the world. Recent military operations have mainly targeted the Syrian regime.

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