Despite having a relatively small military (ranking 29th in active personnel), Great Britain is undoubtedly one of the most powerful countries in the world.
The British Armed Forces are battle-tested, well-trained, and technologically advanced.
We looked through the UK’s Ministry Of Defence Flickr page to find some stunning photos of missions, trainings, and the life of the British soldier.
The British Armed Forces is comprised of 205,000 personnel. It is the second largest army in the European Union.
The British military has aided in the War on Terror since 2002, committing troops to Afghanistan and Iraq under Operation Herrick and Operation Tellic, respectively.
At its peak in 2009, the U.K. had 9,000 troops in Afghanistan. The most significant contributions came from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, and Special Air Service, an elite regiment of the British Army.
There are currently around 6,000 British military personnel in Afghanistan. The British operation is centered on Helmand Province, considered to be the most dangerous place in Afghanistan. More Coalition forces have been lost there than any other province.
40 Commando of the Royal Marines was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan, where the Siege of Sangin took place in 2007. The battle led General David Richards to declare Afghanistan the most intense combat British military has seen since the Korean War.
An officer sends a situation report during an initial entry into an enemy compound during Operation Volcano. During the 2007 operation, the British military cleared a series of Taliban compounds in the embattled Helmand Province.
The British Forces is now helping the US mentor the Afghan National Army and Police. Helmand's Provincial Response Company, an elite Afghani unite supported and mentored by British forces, captured a large haul of weapons and drugs during a counterinsurgency operation last year.
Since the War On Terror began, British Forces have lost 625 troops. Here, British soldiers carry a simulated casualty during an exercise in Wales.
The Royal Navy is the fifth largest in the world, comprised of 98 ships. The HMS Edinburgh, called 'fortress of the sea,' is a Type 42 destroyer that was decommissioned last summer.
The Type 42 Destroyer has been replaced by Type 45 destroyers like the HMS Dauntless (pictured). It has been called the 'world's best air-defence ship.'
The HMS Dragon is another Type 45 destroyer. Here, a Royal Navy gunner takes part in a live firing exercise, during which all of the Dragon's onboard guns were fired.
One of the HMS Dragon's Lynx helicopters fires infrared flares during an exercise over the destroyer.
The HMS Portland is a Type-23 frigate (or Duke class, because all of the ships are named after Dukes). They will form the core of the Royal Navy's fleet, before being replaced by Type-26 Global Combat Ships beginning in 2021. The Sea Wolf missile system (shown) is designed to defend against aircraft and anti-ship missiles.
An American-designed Sea King helicopter takes off from the HMS Illustrious. The HMS Illustrious is the oldest ship in the Royal Navy, having been commissioned in 1982. It has taken part in numerous conflicts including the Falklands War, Iraq, Bosnia, and Lebanon.
The HMS Cornwall was decommissioned in 2011. It was primarily involved in counter-piracy missions. Here, a soldier shoots the Cornwall's 20mm close range guns during a night firing exercise.
The nuclear-powered HMS Astute is the largest attack submarine the Royal Navy has ever commissioned. It was first commissioned in August 2010.
The HMS Triumph is the seventh and final boat in the Trafalgar-class of nuclear submarines. It recently went through a long overhaul and upgrade period from 2005 to 2009. As of 2013, it is back to operational duties.
The HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy's largest warship and the sole member of its class. Here, the Ocean was performing training in the Fjords of Norway, when the ship's photographer caught a picture of the Northern Lights.
The Royal Air Force consists of 827 aircraft and over 38,000 personnel. The Typhoon, shown here (top), is one of the U.K.'s most advanced aircraft. It saw its combat debut in Libya in 2011.
The British Forces currently have 67 Apache helicopters. The Apache is designed to hunt and destroy tanks and can operate in all weathers. Here, an Apache fires rockets at insurgents during a patrol in Afghanistan in 2008.
The British Army maintains its high standing because of elite unites like the Paras. The Parachute Regiment is the British Army's rapid response team.
The Viking all-terrain amphibious vehicle was developed in partnership between the UK Ministry of Defence and Land Systems Hagglunds of Sweden. It can be used in jungle, desert, and Arctic conditions and is the first vehicle of its type to be capable of deploying straight from ship to sea through a ship's well-dock.
The Challenger 2 has been the British Army's primary battle tank since 1998. It first saw combat in 2003 during the Invasion of Iraq and has yet to be destroyed by enemy fire.
The British Army's Mastiffs and Ridgebacks are heavily armoured patrol vehicles, designed for convoys and road patrols. They also provide logistic support for troops and are protected against small arms, land mines, and improvised explosive devices.
The Rapier is a surface-to-air missile developed for the British Army. It is the UK's primary air defence weapon. Here, British Army Gunners set up a Rapier system to protect London during the 2012 Olympic Games.
The L118 light gun is a 105mm howitzer that was originally produced for the British Army in the 1970s. The popular gun has been widely exported since, including to the United States.
The Army Reserve is the British Army's volunteer active-duty reservist force. This photo comes from the Army Reserve's Summer Challenge, an event designed to recruit more people by showing basic and adventure training.
The infamous 'Mud Run' is the toughest part of the 32-week training for Royal Marines. It is designed to improve recruits' stamina, strength, and team spirit, by forcing them through the stinking mud of the Exe estuary near their training base.
The Caerwent Training Area in Wales is housed on an old World War 2 ammunition factory. It is now used for field exercises like this pre-deployment training.
At the Defence Diving School on Horsea Island, instructors provide military diving training for Royal Navy and Army personnel. The facility includes a saltwater lake, a diving tank, recompression chambers, and surface and underwater engineering facilities.
Army regulars and reservists often work alongside each other, like this exercises at an artillery aiming post.
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