If you look closer at military strength rankings, the top 10 powerful countries boast fairly impressive military capabilities, setting them apart. These nations have a strong military heritage and are continuously enhancing their military might, positioning themselves as strong contenders for the title of the most powerful army in the world.
Global Firepower’s Military Strength Rankings 2024 evaluates 145 countries, considering over 60 individual factors like troop numbers, military equipment, financial stability, geographic location, and available resources. These elements contribute to a PowerIndex score, with lower scores indicating stronger military capabilities.In this article, we will look at the world's top 10 most powerful militaries for 2024.
Top 10 powerful countries in 2024
The top 10 powerful countries in the world by military strength rankings, according to GFP, are:
Rank & Nation
Total Military Personnel (est)
#1 United States
#5 South Korea
#6 United Kingdom
It’s time to take a more detailed look at the top 10 military powers in the world and find out why they are so high in the military strength rankings. And how much they spend on military expenses according to the World Bank:
Capital: Washington, D.C.
Military spending: $876 billion
The United States stands first among the top 10 militaries in the world. This dominant position is attributed to the country's commanding presence in crucial material, financial, and resource categories. The United States also leads globally in technological advancements, excelling in the medical, aerospace, and computer/telecom sectors. The nation possesses 13,300 aircraft, with 983 being attack helicopters.Key exports encompass computers, electrical machinery, vehicles, chemicals, food, live animals, and military gear. The nation often assumes leadership roles in international bodies and is pivotal in establishing entities like the United Nations, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), and the World Bank.
Military spending: $86.3 billion
With a history spanning a millennium, Russia came into being after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, maintaining nearly 900,000-strong active military forces. Russia has advanced technology, a significant and well-trained military force, and strategic global influence. However, the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War has highlighted shortcomings regarding leadership, preparedness, and supply chain management within the Russian military. Nevertheless, Russia continues to hold its second-place position among the top 10 armies in the world.
Military spending: $292 billion
China, home to one of the world's most ancient civilisations, has been under communist rule since its founding as the People's Republic of China in 1949. It boasts the world's second-largest economy, next only to the United States.Ranking third among the most powerful militaries in the world, China enjoys a significant economic advantage with significant manpower. China has been channelling substantial efforts into bolstering its naval, airpower, and land warfare capabilities, primarily through domestic sources. China has 3,166 aircraft and 4,950 tanks among its substantial resources.
Capital: New Delhi
Military spending: $81.3 billion
In South Asia, India occupies a peninsula between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Throughout history, India encountered incursions from various invaders, including Turks, Arabs, Persians, and the British. The country became a republic in 1950 after gaining independence from British rule in 1947. India’s large population, growing focus on digitisation and modernisation, and an efficient domestic military-industrial complex make it one of the top 5 strongest armies in the world. India possesses a total of 2,210 aircraft, 4,614 tanks, and 295 assets in terms of naval forces.
Military spending: $ 46.4 billion
South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is an East Asian nation in the southern region of the Korean peninsula. The capital, Seoul, was strategically positioned at the heart of the peninsula during the Joseon dynasty due to its auspicious feng shui, emphasising harmony and well-being through object placement.South Korea possesses the strength of its aircraft fleet, armoured fighting vehicles, and helicopter assets. With over 133,000 vehicles and 739 helicopters, including a formidable fleet of 112 attack helicopters, South Korea's military prowess is a testament to its ongoing commitment to security, fueled by decades-old tensions with North Korea.
Military spending: $68.5 billion
The United Kingdom is situated in the northwestern part of Europe, encompassing the island of Great Britain, which includes England. Its capital, London, holds a prominent global status as a significant financial hub, catering to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. London is also renowned as one of the world's most visited cities.The United Kingdom stands tall among the top 10 militaries in the world with its manpower, airpower, logistical efficiency, and financial resources. The UK's strong aerial tanker aircraft fleet and available ports are significant advantages.
Military spending: $46 billion
Japan is one of the globe's most literate and technologically advanced nations, an impressive feat even as much of its terrain is dominated by mountains and dense forests. Its citizens embrace an urban lifestyle influenced by neighbouring cultures, harmonising ancient traditions with Western elements and showcasing a unique cultural blend.Japan excels with major ports among the top 10 powerful countries, showcasing its strategic maritime advantage. With four helicopter carriers, Japan secures the second spot in this category, just behind the United States. This fleet is equipped with advanced onboard technology for specialised roles on the battlefield. Japan maintains a capable and well-rounded military force with 50,000 Air Force personnel, 150,000 Army personnel, and 51,000 Navy personnel.
Military spending: $ 10.6 billion
The geographical location of Turkey, the gateway between Europe and Asia, makes it one of the most strategically powerful countries in the world. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and with a strength of 3,55,000 active armed personnel, it has the second-largest military in the alliance.
Although historically, the United States and NATO member countries have been top arms exporters to Turkey, it has started expanding its imports, making Russia its significant arms trade partner. Further, Turkey is heavily investing in its indigenous defence industry and pursuing over 700 projects.
Military spending: $10.3 billion
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was founded in 1947 through a rebellion by Muslims against the Hindu majority in British India, securing their homeland. Pakistan is an active member of various international organisations, such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund.Pakistan has one of the most powerful militaries in the world and impressive strengths in areas such as manpower, airpower, land power, and naval capabilities. A heightened emphasis on harnessing natural resources like natural gas and coal and its strategic positioning along shared borders have further elevated Pakistan's standing on the world stage.
Military spending: $33.5 billion
Italy, officially known as the Italian Republic, is a Southern European country and a member of the European Union. Italy is renowned for its diverse cuisine, including pasta, pizza, and wine, with regional variations. Historically, it comprised smaller kingdoms and city-states before unification in 1861.Italy, the last in GFP’s list of top 10 powerful countries, excels in areas such as its aerial tanker aircraft fleet, substantial total helicopter strength, impressive attack aircraft capabilities, and the possession of multiple aircraft carrier warships. Italy has a fleet of 404 helicopters, including 58 attack helicopters.
Military spending: $53.6 billion
France has a rich history as one of the world's oldest nations. Its profound impact extends globally across domains like science, politics, economics, and, notably, culture. France also has tourism playing a substantial role in its economic landscape.France's advantages in manpower, airpower, naval capabilities, logistical efficiency, and financial resources underscore its military strength. France showcases its capability and versatility in modern warfare with a fleet of 438 helicopters, including 69 attack helicopters.