Top 5 of the World’s Most Powerful Armies

Check out some of the world’s most formidable military machines

Military experts and analysts use various factors to determine the overall strength of an army. Usually, the most important ones are size, morale, equipment and technological development. In recent years, the world has witnessed increasing tensions between Russia and the West, as well as several bloody conflicts in the Middle East.

The potential for confrontation between major world powers, although still unlikely, is not negligible. This is a reason more to check out the list of world’s most powerful armies in 2015-2016.

5. India

In addition to being the second most populous country in the world, India has one of the largest armies in the world. With 1,325,000 active members, India’s army is second only to China in terms of manpower.

Indian army has nearly 6,500 tanks and 1900 aircraft, and only China, the US and Russia have more.

A nuclear power, India is ranked 6th in the world in military expenditure. The Indian army is currently undergoing a major modernizing efforts, and it is expected that military spending will rise significantly in the future.

Indian security forces march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.Photo By Pankaj Nangia (Daily Mail)

4. United Kingdom

Although its manpower and active personnel are rather inferior compared to the armies of some Asian and Middle Eastern nations, the UK certainly has one of the most advanced military forces in the world. The days of the British Empire may be gone, but the UK still retains a powerful navy.

The UK is also one of top countries by military spending, with more than 55 billion dollars allocated to military expenditures.

British navy ships (Photo: Gulf News)

3. China

Chinese military has been greatly expanded in the past few decades, both in terms of size and capacity. Currently, China has the biggest army in the world, with almost 2.5 million active members, almost double than the US.

China also has a substantial nuclear arsenal. It is currently estimated that China possesses 260 total nuclear warheads; only the US, Russia and France have more.

Cementing China’s status as one the most militarily powerful nations in the world, is its military spending. Second only to the US, China’s military spending in 2015 has been estimated at $216 billion.

China’s nuclear arsenal on parade, Photo: Coastweek

2. Russia

Emerging from the ruins of the USSR, Russia has regained its status as a military super-power. Active military personnel is ranging from 700,000 to 1 million. Russia has the world’s largest tank fleet and the second largest aircraft fleet.

Military spending has increased significantly since 2008, and is still growing. Russia is currently 4th, behind US, China and Saudi Arabia when it comes to military expenditure.

In recent years, Russia has made significant efforts to expand and modernize its nuclear arsenal. Russia has the largest number of nuclear warheads (7,300) of which 1796 are deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers.

Russian soldiers march during the Victory Parade marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Red Square in Moscow, Russia on Saturday. Photo: NHPR

1. United States

The US military expenditure is by far the biggest in the world. It’s estimated that US military expenditure in 2015 was $601 billion. The US spends more on its military than both Russia and China combined.

The number of active military personnel is 1.4 million, making the US army second only to China. There’s little doubt that despite its current challenges, the US remains the world’s foremost military power. The US has the most powerful navy and the world’s largest aircraft fleet.

As an example, the US currently has 11 aircraft carriers, Russia, France and the UK all have 1. The situation is pretty much the same with cruisers: the US has 22 while Russia has 4.

However, recently, US nuclear arsenal has slightly fallen behind Russia. It’s estimated that the number of total nuclear warheads in the US is 7100. 1367 strategic nuclear warheads are deployed on  681 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers.

US Marines in Afghanistan

Source: World Atlas, Business Insider

Image: In Military