This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
I haven't posted on this subject for some time but given the ongoing events in Ukraine, it is important that we have an understanding of the military strength of the 3 main players; the United States, Russia and Ukraine. Fortunately, Global Firepower supplies us with a one stop shop for the data that we need.
Let's start with this graphic which shows the rankings of the total available active military manpower by nation. The PowerIndex score is calculated using over 50 factors and rates each nation on its potential war-making capabilities on land, sea and air using conventional weapons. The lower the score, the higher the nation's capability to wage war. These factors used include manpower, military equipment, natural resources, finances and geography. Here is a list showing the top 24 nations in order from greatest to lowest military strength:
The United States has the highest military strength followed by Russia, China, India and Japan. Ukraine comes in 22nd place after Taiwan and ahead of Canada.
Let's start by comparing the military strength of the United States and Russia using various factors, peeing in mind that the U.S. budget for its military is $770 billion compared to $154 billion for Russia:
1.) Manpower – using total population, available manpower, the number fit-for-service, the number reaching military age annually, active personnel and reserve personnel, the United States is ahead of Russia on all factors. Russia is ahead of the United States only when the number of paramilitary forces is considered (the United States has none):
2.) Airpower – using total aircraft, fighter, dedicated attack, transports, trainers, special mission, helicopters and attack helicopters, the United States is ahead of Russia which comes in either 2nd or 3rd after the U.S. The United States is far ahead of Russia when it comes to total military aircraft with the U.S. having 13,247 compared to Russia's 4,173. One of the biggest differences is in the number of fighter aircraft with the United States having 1,957 compared to Russia which has 772:
3.) Landpower – using tank strength, self-propelled artillery, towed artillery and mobil rocket projectors, Russia is ahead of the United States. The United States is ahead of Russia only when the the number of armoured vehicles is considered:
4.) Navalpower – using aircraft carriers, helicopter carriers and destroyers, the United States is ahead of Russia. Russia is ahead of the United States using total fleet strength, submarines, frigates, corvettes, patrol vessels and mine warfare.
Now, let's compare the military strength of Russia and Ukraine. Given that Russia is a far bigger economy and military than Ukraine, we will compare certain key factors keeping in mind that Russia's defence budget is $154 billion compared to $11.87 billion for Ukraine:
1.) Manpower – total – Russia 9th place, Ukraine 34th place
a.) Fit for service – Russia 10th place, Ukraine 32nd place
b.) Reaching military age annually – Russia 17th place, Ukraine 48th place
c.) Active personnel – Russia 5th place, Ukraine 20th place
d.) Reserve personnel – Russia and Ukraine both 15th place
e.) Paramilitary forces – Russia 11th place, Ukraine 27th place
2.) Airpower – total – Russia 2nd place, Ukraine 31st place
a.) Total aircraft – Russia 2nd place, Ukraine 31st place
b.) Fighter aircraft – Russia 3rd place, Ukraine 32nd place
c.) Helicopters – Russia 2nd place, Ukraine 34th place
d.) Attack helicopters – Russia 2nd place, Ukraine 18th place
Here is a graphic showing Russia's military aircraft:
Here is a graphic showing Ukraine's military aircraft:
3.) Landpower –
a.) Tank strength – Russia 1st place, Ukraine 13th place
b.) Armoured vehicles – Russia 3rd place, Ukraine 6th place
c.) Self-propelled artillery – Russia 1st place, Ukraine 6th place
d.) Mobile rocket projectors – Russia 1st place, Ukraine 12th place
Here is a graphic showing Russia's army vehicles and artillery:
Here is a graphic showing Ukraine's army vehicles and artillery keeping in mind that much of Ukraine's land-based equipment is dated:
4.) Navalpower – total fleet strength – Russia 2nd place, Ukraine 53rd place
Ukraine essentially has a very limited ability to use its very small naval fleet to either defend itself or to use in offensive actions.
While Ukraine's military strength is far below that of Russia's, we have to keep in mind that the United States and United Kingdom (as well as other NATO nations) are supplying Ukraine's military with the materiel that it needs to fight against Russia.
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