From the early days of human development and the march toward civilization, men have created armed forces with the purpose of protecting their communities and borders. As technology kept improving and warfare modernized throughout history so did the militaries of these communities which gradually became city-states, kingdoms, and empires, eventually morphing into the modern nation-state in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In an era when war and military might and strategy are more dependent than ever on technology, the competition between the world’s largest militaries focuses less on active personnel and more on equipment and contemporary warfare technologies than it used to just decades ago.
This explains why small countries like Taiwan or Israel, for example, rank so high in terms of military strength compared to other nations of hundreds of millions that lack war tech and weaponry. The list of the 25 Most Powerful Militaries In the World that follows proves how drastically the rules and tactics of war have changed in recent history and how superior technology and weapons can alter the fate of battles.
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NOTE: Ranking derived from globalfirepower.com.
Officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea is known for its oppressive government and its antagonistic relationship with a good portion of the world. It currently holds 4,200 tanks, 944 aircraft, and a naval force of 967. In spite of these numbers, North Korea’s weaponry is considered to be aged and obsolete with limited capabilities. For example, out of the 70 submarines it currently has, 20 are rusty Romeo-class submarines with 1950’s technology.
The Royal Saudi Armed Forces consists of the Saudi Arabian Army, the Royal Saudi Air Force, the Royal Saudi Navy, the Royal Saudi Air Defense, the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), and paramilitary forces, together totaling over 230,000 active-duty members. It’s one of the richest militaries in the world and is in charge of protecting the country’s vast wealth.
The unstoppable rise of China has forced Australia—as well as most countries in the Asia-Pacific region—into a continuous upgrade and modernization of their military force, which, despite its small size, is considered one of the best and most effective in the world.
Despite being one of the most peaceful and friendly countries throughout its history, Canada’s military is among the most powerful in the world. Currently, Canada an extensive arsenal of military weapons including 181 tanks, 426 Aircraft, and a total naval strength of 63.
The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran total about 545,000 active personnel and is without a doubt one of the most powerful and dominant forces in the Mid East.