10 Most Powerful Militaries in the World

Japan is at the bottom of the top 10 - Germany finds itself ranking low in manpower

By Steffani Whitmeyer - Business Insider

  1. Japan

Japan is at the bottom of the top 10 with a population capable of mustering an army of just under 54,000,000 soldiers. The nation makes up for its lack of manpower with 767 operational tanks and nearly 1,600 aircraft. However, it has only a single aircraft carrier, zero nuclear warheads and just 16 submarines. Japan is not a world leader in any of the categories, but they it does maintain a hefty budget of $49.1 billion in military spending.

  1. South Korea

South Korea was ranked ninth on the list, far ahead of its northern brother who was ranked 35th (even though North Korea also happens to be the world leader in submarines with a whopping 78 listed as operational). South Korea has a population capable of mustering only 25,609,290 soldiers, smallest of any nation ranked in the top ten. It makes up for this with an arsenal of nearly 1,400 operational aircraft, 2,346 tanks, and 14 submarines. South Korea has no nuclear warheads or aircraft carriers and a modest military budget of $33.7 billion.

  1. Turkey

Surprised to find Turkey in the top 10? We were. Turkey is ranked 6th for potential manpower with nearly 42,000,000 soldiers; it also has 3,657 tanks at its disposal. Turkey's number of aircraft, however, is one of the lowest on the top 10 list – only 989. The nation also has no nuclear warheads or aircraft carriers. Turkey matches South Korea in its number of submarines (14), but has the lowest budget of the top 10 list – a measly $18.1 billion.

  1. Germany

Germany finds itself ranking low in manpower, with 36,417,842 potential soldiers. It also has barely 400 tanks, 700 aircraft, and only four submarines. And it has zero nukes or aircraft carriers. So why did it beat out Turkey, South Korea, and Japan for the seventh spot? Despite Germany’s low manpower, weaponry and artillery, it has one of the largest military budgets with $45 billion to grow its military rapidly if the need arises.

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  1. France

Other than South Korea, France has the lowest number of active duty soldiers - just under 29,000,000. They also have less firepower than the bottom three countries, but similar to Germany they have a large military purse of $43 billion. So, with that large of a budget, the French can increase their 423 tanks, 1,200 aircraft and 10 submarines exponentially. Oh yeah, and they also have 300 nuclear warheads and cool flying cars for their special forces.

  1. United Kingdom

Of course the United Kingdom would make the top five, but perhaps it’s surprising that it’s in the bottom of the top five. Shockingly, the UK ranks the lowest in almost all categories of available war machines: tanks, aircraft, aircraft carriers, and submarines. They do, however, beat India (surprisingly ranked fourth on this list!) in nuclear warheads and budget, if only by a slim margin. The UK loses to France in both tanks and aircraft with only 407 tanks and just a little more than 900 aircraft. With a budget of $53.6 billion, the UK is able to build 225 nuclear warheads and 11 submarines, so it could still stand up to most countries in terms of firepower.

  1. India

India beat out almost all countries but one other (China) in available manpower with a whopping 615,201,057 million soldiers potentially at its disposal. The nation also boasts considerable firepower with 3,569 tanks, 1,785 aircraft, about 100 nuclear warheads, a pair of aircraft carriers, and 17 subs. The only categories India struggles in are nuclear warheads and its relatively modest $46 billion budget. But the nation compensates these weaknesses with considerable potential manpower and firepower.

And now for the TOP 3

  1. China

With an enormous 749,610,775 potential soldiers, China bests the entire world in available manpower. The country that comes the closest – India – is still well behind. And with that manpower comes a fairly large arsenal of 9,150 tanks, 2,788 aircraft, 250 nuclear warheads, and 69 submarines. China has just a single aircraft carrier, however. But who needs to lead in global firepower when you’ve got the largest army in the world by a billion people? Unsurprisingly, they also have some of the deepest pockets for military spending - $126 billion.

  1. Russia

Aside from the United Kingdom, Russia has the smallest potential military force in terms of available manpower - 69 million soldiers - of the top five. But, what Russia lacks in manpower it makes up in firepower, being the world’s leader in tanks and nuclear warheads. In fact, Russia beats out the United States and China by about 6,000 tanks and has roughly one thousand more nuclear warheads than the U.S. Russia also has 3,082 aircraft and 63 subs to deliver their eye-popping 8,484 nukes. But Russia's military potential is weakened by its limited navy (it has just one aircraft carrier) and a somewhat small military budget of $76.6 billion. Still, with enough nukes to destroy the earth and every living organism ten times over, Russia remains a dangerous force to be reckoned with.

And for the global leader of powerful militaries...

  1. The United States

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