Top 9 Most Power Militaries In The World - Updated
We have a list of 9 most powerful militaries. Photo KnowInsiders


Since 2006 GlobalFirepower (GFP) has provided a unique analytical display of data concerning 140 modern military powers. The GFP ranking is based on each nation's potential war-making capability across land, sea, and air fought by conventional means. The results incorporate values related to manpower, equipment, natural resources, finances, and geography represented by 50+ individual factors used in formulating the finalized GFP ranks - which provide an interesting glimpse into an increasingly volatile global landscape where war seems all but an inevitability.

When it comes to manpower, no military in the world comes close to that of China. According to Global Firepower estimates, the People's Republic has around 2 million active military personnel. The United States in comparison, has significantly less - 1.4 million - but when assessing the overall power of the world's military forces, the U.S. comes out on top, ahead of Russia and China in second and third, respectively.

Top 9 Most Powerful Militaries In The World - Updated
The World's Most Powerful Militaries

With Russian military build up around Ukraine and increasingly aggressive posturing from the Kremlin, the chances of at least one of the world's most powerful militaries applying its strength in a major new conflict appear to be at their highest for some time. Diplomatic efforts have so far failed, and it now remains to be seen how Russia will act. Elsewhere, the risk of China and the United States clashing in some form over Taiwan remains ever-present.

The index "utilizes over 50 individual factors to determine a given nation's PowerIndex score with categories ranging from military might and financials to logistical capability and geography." While a rating of 0.000 would represent the perfect score, it is considered realistically unattainable.

Power, after all, is relative. Militaries decide where to invest their resources based on unique national factors of topography and geostrategy—a development path that makes one military “powerful” would not necessarily be viable for another. With that being said, GlobalFirepower’s Military Strength Ranking index employs a unique formula that manages to control for many of the variables that can make these comparisons so fraught. Here are the five militaries that, by widespread expert consensus, are currently the strongest.

Photo Statista
Photo Statista

Here is the list of 9 Most Powerful Militaries in the World in 2021:




6.South Korea




2. Russia

1.The United States

9 Most Powerful Militaries in the World in Detail


Budget: $29.3 billion

Active frontline personnel: 107,975,146

Tanks: 439


Total Strength - 676, Fighters - 43, Dedicated Attack - 77, Transports - 124, Trainers - 210, Special-Mission - 40, Tanker Fleet - 2, Helicopters - 177, Attack Helicopters - 12.

Land Forces:

Tanks - 439, Armored Vehicles - 2,000, Self-Propelled Artillery - 136, Towed Artillery - 546, Rocket Projectors - 60.

Naval Forces:

Total Assets - 112, Aircraft Carriers - 0, Helicopters Carriers - 1, Destroyers - 0, Frigates - 7, Corvettes - 2, Submarines - 6, Patrol - 22, Mine Warfare - 5.


Budget: $60.5 billion

Active frontline personnel: 146,980

Tanks: 407

Total aircraft: 936

Submarines: 10

Although the UK is planning to reduce the size of its armed forces by 20% between 2010 and 2018, it can count on being able to project its power around the world.

The Royal Navy is planning to put the HMS Queen Elizabeth, an aircraft carrier that has a flight deck measuring at 4.5 acres, into service in 2020, carrying 40 F-35B joint strike fighters across the globe.

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Budget: $62.3 billion

Active frontline personnel: 202,761

Tanks: 423

Total aircraft: 1,264

Submarines: 10

The French military is relatively small but highly trained, professional, and capable of force projection.

The country has the nearly new aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle, and France routinely engages in military deployments throughout Africa to help stabilize governments and fight against extremism.

6.South Korea

Photo ISDP
Photo ISDP

Budget: $62.3 billion
Active frontline personnel: 624,465
Tanks: 2,381
Total aircraft: 1,412
Submarines: 13

South Korea has been left with little choice but to have a large and capable military in the face of potential North Korean aggression. With those realities in mind, South Korea has a number of submarines, attack helicopters, and active personnel.

The country also has numerous tanks and the sixth largest air force in the world.


Photo India Times
Photo India Times

Budget: $41.6 billion

Active frontline personnel: 247,173
Tanks: 678
Total aircraft: 1,613
Submarines: 16

Japan first supplanted France for fifth-place in 2020, leveraging its wealth, comparatively large defense budget, and impressive infrastructure. Though it maintains a robust air force and an active presence in select naval categories such as destroyers and submarines, Japan’s global ranking is dragged down by its relative lack of ground forces.


Buget: $50 billion
Active frontline personnel: 1,325,000
Tanks: 6,464
Total aircraft: 1,905
Submarines: 15

India is one of the largest military powers on the planet. It has the most active manpower of any country aside from China and the US, in addition to the most tanks and aircraft of any country besides the US, China, or Russia.

India also has access to nuclear weapons. It's expected to become the fourth highest military spender on earth by 2020.


Budget: $216 billion
Active frontline personnel: 2,333,000
Tanks: 9,150
Total aircraft: 2,860
Submarines: 67

The Chinese military has grown rapidly in terms of both size and capability in the past few decades. In terms of raw manpower, it's the largest military in the world. It also has the second largest tank fleet behind Russia and the second largest submarine fleet behind the US.

China has also made rapid strides in its military modernization program, now developing a range of potentially game-changing military technologies including ballistic missiles and fifth-generation aircraft.


Budget: $84.5 billion
Active frontline personnel: 766,055
Tanks: 15,398
Total aircraft: 3,429
Submarines: 55

Russia has recovered from its post-Soviet military slump, launching a slew of far-reaching modernization projects to revitalize its aging air force and navy. The fruits of those labors can be readily observed in 2021, with a new generation of Russian strategic and cruise missile submarines narrowing the qualitative gap with their U.S. counterparts. Russia’s growing force of modernized corvettes and other small ships reflects Moscow’s commitment to a coastal defense force. Meanwhile, Russia continues to hold a large quantitative edge over the United States in all land power categories other than armored vehicles. The airpower matchup is still somewhat lopsided in favor of the United States; as illustrated by its new Su-57 air superiority fighter, Russia is currently more interested in developing air-based counters to U.S. stealth penetration platforms than investing in similar capabilities.

1.The United States

Photo India Times
Photo India Times

Budget: $601 billion
Active frontline personnel: 1,400,000
Tanks: 8,848
Total aircraft: 13,892
Submarines: 72

The United States has again taken the crown of the world’s strongest military in 2021, outpacing its nearest competitor by a small, but steady margin. With its massive—even if partially bloated—defense budget, expansive infrastructure, vast manpower, and a large pool of potential fit-for-service recruits, the United States passes all the underlying criteria of modern military power with flying colors. Its raw potential is matched by a robust defense industry, responsible for some of the advanced military hardware in the world. The United States leads the world in airpower, quantitatively and qualitatively beating its nearest competitor in most if not all aircraft categories. It maintains by far the most active-service aircraft carriers in the world, enjoying a global strike reach through the U.S. Navy’s doctrinal concept of Carrier Strike Groups.

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