NATO and Russia are flexing their military might right next to each other — here are the 25 most powerful militaries in Europe

Finnish Defence Force/VIlle MultanenPersonnel from the Finnish Defence Forces 71st Motorised Battalion in formation at the Älvdalen training grounds in Sweden, October 27, 2018

NATO member and partner forces are in Norway for a sprawling military exercise called Trident Juncture – the largest since the Cold War, officials have said.

Russia is not happy with NATO’s robust presence next to its territory and has decided to put on its own show of force.

From November 1 to November 3, Russian ships will carry out rocket drills in the Norwegian Sea, west of activities related to Trident Juncture, which runs from October 25 to November 7.

The exercises come at a time of heightened tension in Europe, home to some of the world’s most capable armed forces, based on the 2018 military strength ranking compiled by Global Firepower.

The ranking aims to level the playing between smaller countries with technical advantages and larger, less-sophisticated countries.

Additional factors – geography, logistical capabilities, natural resources, and industrial capacity – are taken into account, as are things like diversity of weapons and assets, national development, and manpower.

NATO members, 27 of which are European, also get a boost, as the alliance is designed to share resources and military support. The US military has a massive presence in Europe – including its largest base outside the US – but isn’t included here as the US isn’t part of Europe.

Below, you can see the 25 most powerful militaries in Europe.


25. Belgium (Overall ranking: 68)

NATO Photo By WO FRAN C.ValverdeBelgium air force helicopter Alouette III takes off from BNS Godetia for a tactical flight over the fjords in support of an amphibious exercise during NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise.

Power Index rating: 1.0885

Total population: 11,491,346

Total military personnel: 38,800

Total aircraft strength: 164

Fighter aircraft: 45

Combat tanks: 0

Total naval assets: 17

Defence budget: $US5.085 billion


24. Portugal (Overall ranking: 63)

US Army/Spc. Emily HoudershieldtA Portuguese sniper team identifies targets during the range-estimation event of the Europe Best Sniper Team Competition at 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, July 29, 2018.

Power Index rating: 1.0035

Total population: 10,839,514

Total military personnel: 268,500

Total aircraft strength: 93

Fighter aircraft: 24

Combat tanks: 133

Total naval assets: 41

Defence budget: $US3.8 billion


23. Slovakia (Overall ranking: 62)

US Army/1st Lt. Caitlin SweetSlovak soldiers report to their commander during the opening ceremony of Slovak Shield 2018 at Lest Military Training Center, September 23, 2018.

Power Index rating: 0.9998

Total population: 5,445,829

Total military personnel: 14,675

Total aircraft strength: 49

Fighter aircraft: 18

Combat tanks: 22

Total naval assets: 0

Defence budget: $US1.025 billion


22. Austria (Overall ranking: 61)

US ArmyAustrian soldiers load gear onto their packhorses before hiking to a high-angle range during the International Special Training Centre High-Angle/Urban Course at the Hochfilzen Training Area, Austria, September 12, 2018.

Power Index rating: 0.9953

Total population: 8,754,413

Total military personnel: 170,000

Total aircraft strength: 124

Fighter aircraft: 15

Combat tanks: 56

Total naval assets: 0

Defence budget: $US3.22 billion


21. Bulgaria (Overall ranking: 60)

US Army National Guard/Sgt. Jamar Marcel PughA Bulgarian army tank crew maneuvers a T-72 tank during an exercise with US soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Armoured Brigade Combat Team at the Novo Selo Training Area, September 15, 2018.

Power Index rating: 0.9839

Total population: 7,101,510

Total military personnel: 52,650

Total aircraft strength: 73

Fighter aircraft: 20

Combat tanks: 531

Total naval assets: 29

Defence budget: $US700 million


20. Finland (Overall ranking: 59)

NATO/FRAN CPO Christian ValverdeStanding NATO Maritime Group One trains with Finnish fast-attack missile boat FNS Hanko during a passing exercise in the Baltic Sea, August 28, 2017.

Power Index rating: 0.9687

Total population: 5,518,371

Total military personnel: 262,050

Total aircraft strength: 153

Fighter aircraft: 55

Combat tanks: 160

Total naval assets: 270

Defence budget: $US3.66 billion


19. Hungary (Overall ranking: 57)

US Army/2nd Lt. Gabor HorvathCpl. Cedric Jackson, a US soldier from the 2nd Armoured Brigade Combat Team of Army’s 1st Infantry Division, assists a Hungarian soldier in applying tape to secure a fluid-administration tube to a simulated casualty during a combat life-saver course led by US troops in Tata, Hungary, December 2017.

Power Index rating: 0.9153

Total population: 9,850,845

Total military personnel: 77,250

Total aircraft strength: 35

Fighter aircraft: 12

Combat tanks: 32

Total naval assets: 0

Defence budget: $US1.04 billion


18. Denmark (Overall ranking: 54)

Power Index rating: 0.9084

Total population: 5,605,948

Total military personnel: 75,150

Total aircraft strength: 113

Fighter aircraft: 33

Combat tanks: 57

Total naval assets: 90

Defence budget: $US4.44 billion


17. Belarus (Overall ranking: 41)

Power Index rating: 0.7315

Total population: 9,549,747

Total military personnel: 401,250

Total aircraft strength: 202

Fighter aircraft: 43

Combat tanks: 515

Total naval assets: 0

Defence budget: $US725 million


16. Romania (Overall ranking: 40)

Power Index rating: 0.7205

Total population: 21,529,967

Total military personnel: 177,750

Total aircraft strength: 135

Fighter aircraft: 34

Combat tanks: 827

Total naval assets: 48

Defence budget: $US2.19 billion


15. Netherlands (Overall ranking: 38)

Power Index rating: 0.7113

Total population: 17,084,719

Total military personnel: 53,205

Total aircraft strength: 165

Fighter aircraft: 61

Combat tanks: 0

Total naval assets: 56

Defence budget: $US9.84 billion


14. Norway (Overall ranking: 36)

NATOA Norwegian soldier takes aim during Trident Juncture 18 near Røros, Norway, October 2018.

Power Index rating: 0.6784

Total population: 5,320,045

Total military personnel: 72,500

Total aircraft strength: 128

Fighter aircraft: 49

Combat tanks: 52

Total naval assets: 62

Defence budget: $US7 billion


13. Switzerland (Overall ranking: 34)

Power Index rating: 0.6634

Total population: 8,236,303

Total military personnel: 171,000

Total aircraft strength: 167

Fighter aircraft: 54

Combat tanks: 134

Total naval assets: 0

Defence budget: $US4.83 billion


12. Sweden (Overall ranking: 31)

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan SnyderSwedish air force Pvt. Salem Mimic, left, and Pvt. Andreas Frojd, right, both with Counter Special Forces Platoon, provide security for US Air Force airmen and aircraft on the flight line at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, during Exercise Trident Juncture 18, Oct. 26, 2018.

Power Index rating: 0.6071

Total population: 9,960,487

Total military personnel: 43,875

Total aircraft strength: 206

Fighter aircraft: 72

Combat tanks: 120

Total naval assets: 63

Defence budget: $US6.2 billion


11. Czech Republic (Overall ranking: 30)

Defence Department/Lisa FerdinandoCzech service members participate in a parade marking the Czech centennial, observed by US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, in Prague, Czech Republic, October 28, 2018.

Power Index rating: 0.5969

Total population: 10,674,723

Total military personnel: 29,050

Total aircraft strength: 103

Fighter aircraft: 12

Combat tanks: 123

Total naval assets: 0

Defence budget: $US2.6 billion


10. Ukraine (Overall ranking: 29)

GettyUkrainian troops from Donbass battalion train with small arms outside Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 13, 2015.

Power Index rating: 0.5383

Total population: 44,033,874

Total military personnel: 1,182,000

Total aircraft strength: 240

Fighter aircraft: 39

Combat tanks: 2,214

Total naval assets: 25

Defence budget: $US4.88 billion


9. Greece (Overall ranking: 28)

Power Index rating: 0.5255

Total population: 10,768,477

Total military personnel: 413,750

Total aircraft strength: 567

Fighter aircraft: 189

Combat tanks: 1,345

Total naval assets: 115

Defence budget: $US6.54 billion


8. Poland (Overall ranking: 22)

Power Index rating: 0.4276

Total population: 38,476,269

Total military personnel: 184,650

Total aircraft strength: 466

Fighter aircraft: 99

Combat tanks: 1,065

Total naval assets: 83

Defence budget: $US9.36 billion


7. Spain (Overall ranking: 19)

Photo by 1st German/Netherlands CorpsA sniper and spotter from the Spanish Lepanto Battalion line up their target near Folldal during Exercise Trident Juncture, using the .50 calibre Barrett and the .338 calibre Accuracy sniper rifles, firing at targets over 1,000 meters away.

Power Index rating: 0.4079

Total population: 48,958,159

Total military personnel: 174,700

Total aircraft strength: 524

Fighter aircraft: 122

Combat tanks: 327

Total naval assets: 46 (one aircraft carrier)

Defence budget: $US11.6 billion


6. Italy (Overall ranking: 11)

Italian Air ForceAn Italian F-35A fighter jet with special tail markings

Power Index rating: 0.2565

Total population: 62,137,802

Total military personnel: 267,500

Total aircraft strength: 828

Fighter aircraft: 90

Combat tanks: 200

Total naval assets: 143 (two aircraft carriers)

Defence budget: $US37.7 billion


5. Germany (Overall ranking: 10)

Power Index rating: 0.2461

Total population: 80,594,017

Total military personnel: 208,641

Total aircraft strength: 714

Fighter aircraft: 94

Combat tanks: 432

Total naval assets: 81

Defence budget: $US45.2 billion


4. Turkey (Overall ranking: 9)

Power Index rating: 0.2216

Total population: 80,845,215

Total military personnel: 710,565

Total aircraft strength: 1,056

Fighter aircraft: 207

Combat tanks: 2,446

Total naval assets: 194

Defence budget: $US10.2 billion


3. United Kingdom (Overall ranking: 6)

Power Index rating: 0.1917

Total population: 64,769,452

Total military personnel: 279,230

Total aircraft strength: 832

Fighter aircraft: 103

Combat tanks: 227

Total naval assets: 76 (two aircraft carriers)

Defence budget: $US50 billion


2. France (Overall ranking: 5)

US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 3rd Class Matt MatlageFrench sailors watch the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush as it transits alongside the French navy frigate Forbin, October 25, 2017.

Power Index rating: 0.1869

Total population: 67,106,161

Total military personnel: 388,635

Total aircraft strength: 1,262

Fighter aircraft: 299

Combat tanks: 406

Total naval assets: 118 (four aircraft carriers)

Defence budget: $US40 billion


1. Russia (Overall ranking: 2)

Russian Ministry of DefenceRussian troops participating in the Zapad 2017 exercises in Belarus and Russia.

Power Index rating: 0.0841

Total population: 142,257,519

Total military personnel: 3,586,128

Total aircraft strength: 3,914

Fighter aircraft: 818

Combat tanks: 20,300

Total naval assets: 352 (one aircraft carrier)

Defence budget: $US47 billion

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