Comparing the Military Strength of Israel and Iran

Military Strength, Israel, Iran

This article was last updated on April 15, 2024

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Comparing the Military Strength of Israel and Iran

With outright hostilities between long-term enemies Iran and Israel now in full bloom, I thought that it would be an interesting exercise to compare the military capabilities of both nations.  For the purposes of this posting, I will be using data supplied by Global Firepower.


Let’s look at some key military metrics:


1.) Manpower – 


a.) Total Population – Israel – 9,043,387  Iran – 87,590,873


b.) Available Manpower – Israel – 3,798,223  Iran – 49,050,889


c.) Fit-for-Service – Israel – 3,156,142  Iran – 41,167,710


d.) Active Personnel – Israel – 170,000  Iran – 610,000


e.) Reserve Personnel – Israel – 465,000  Iran – 350,000


f.) Annual Military Age – Israel – 126,607  Iran – 1,401,454


When it comes to manpower, Iran is clearly ahead of Israel, particularly when it comes to the number of citizens that are fit-for-service and those who are reaching military age on an annual basis.


2.) Airpower – 


a.) Total Aircraft – Israel – 612  Iran – 551


b.) Fighter Aircraft – Israel – 241 Iran – 186


c.) Dedicated Attack Aircraft – Israel – 39  Iran – 23


d.) Helicopters – Israel – 146  Iran – 129


e.) Attack Helicopters – Israel – 48 Iran – 13


3.) Land Power – 


a.) Tanks – Israel – 1,370 Iran – 1,996


b.) Armoured Vehicles – Israel – 43,407 Iran – 65,765


c.) Self-propelled Artillery – Israel – 650 Iran – 580


d.) Mobil Rocket Projectors – Israel – 150 Iran – 775


4.) Naval Power – 


a.) Fleet Strength – Israel – 67 Iran – 101


b.) Submarines – Israel – 5  Iran – 19


c.) Frigates – Israel – 0  Iran – 7


d.) Corvettes – Israel – 7 Iran – 3


e.) Patrol Vessels – Israel 45 Iran – 21


There is another key aspect of Iran’s strength that Israel does not share; its massive oil reserves.  Iran produces 3.45 million barrels of oil per day compared to none for Israel and consumes 1.935 million barrels of oil per day compared to 235,000 barrels per day for Israel.  This leaves Israel vulnerable to fuel shortages should a long-term military operation take place.  Israel does have 12.7 million barrels of oil reserves however this is dwarfed by Iran’s 210 billion barrels of oil reserves, putting it in third place in the world.  When it comes to natural gas, Israel is once again dwarfed by Iran which has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world compared to Israel which ranks at number 41 and has the third largest natural gas production in the world compared to Israel which ranks at number 40.  


Iran also has the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East many of which are capable of carrying nuclear payloads.  Here is a table showing Iran’s missiles that are most likely to be used for conventional strikes against high-value targets or as a nuclear delivery system:


Military Strength,Israel,Iran


Overall, according to Global Firepower, when all aspects of each nation’s economy and military inventory and considered, Israel’s military ranks at number 17 out of 145 nations in the world compared to Iran which ranks at number 14.


When comparing the military strength of both nations, we have to keep in mind that the United States is basically an endless supplier of military equipment to Israel through long-term formal agreements thanks to a bought and sold United States Congress whereas Iran relies to a lesser extent on its growing military relationship with Russia and China.  In any case, should all-out hostilities occur, it will be a long and bloody confrontation between two well-armed nations that represent the growing divide in the global post-American hegemonic world.

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