Which is the most
powerful navy in the world? Which are the top 10 strongest navies?
Out Top 10
ranking of navies is based on their fleet surface combatants and
submarines. This analysis considers offensive power of the world
top 10 strongest navies in the world are these:
The US Navy
is currently the most capable navy in the world. In the early 1990s,
after the end of
the Cold War, the US Navy has shifted its focus from large-scale war
scenario with the Soviet Union to regional conflicts. The US fleet continues
to shrink due to decreasing funding and lack of proper threat,
however mainly at a cost of smaller ships, rather than major surface
combatants and deadliest submarines. The US fleet is being well
maintained. New ships and weapons continue to emerge. The US
Navy has nearly 320 000 personnel.
The US Navy
operates 11 large aircraft carriers that are used to project power.
These include a single
class carrier and a total of 10
Improved Nimitz class aircraft carriers. Each of these aircraft
carriers has 70-80 aircraft. It is larger and more powerful force
than complete air force of many nations. The aircraft carriers are
deployed in carrier battle groups alongside a host of escorting
warships and attack submarines. These escorting vessels and boats
provide protection for the carriers from air-, missile-, sea- and
underwater threats. Also these escorts provide additional strike
The US Navy
has a significant amphibious assault capabilities. The so called
"gator navy" operates 8-9
America class and
class amphibious assault ships. Each of these warships carry
around 1 700-2 000 marines, as well as their armored vehicles, and
deliver them ashore by tiltrotors, helicopters and howercraft. These
warships are larger than most aircraft carriers. Additionally there
San Antonio class large amphibious transports that also provide
long-range amphibious capability. The US Marine Corps
has more than 180 000 personnel and their own naval aviation, even
though this service is not directly related to the US Navy.
There are 22
Ticonderoga class missile cruisers.
These were the first surface combatant ships equipped with the AEGIS
weapon system, the most sophisticated air defense system in the
world. These cruisers are designed to protect battle groups from
The US Navy is building 3 extremely advanced and stealthy
Zumwalt class destroyers. These are the largest
destroyers ever built. Actually in terms of size, displacement and
armament the Zumwalt class ships are closer to cruisers rather than
These warships are focused on land attack, but can also perform
anti-aircraft and naval fire support. Also there are 64
general-purpose destroyers that incorporate highly advanced weaponry
There are no frigates in service with the US Navy. Instead these
were recently replaced by
Independence class littoral combat ships. These small vessels
carry little weapons at all and are not designed to combat equal
The US Navy
operates a total of 3 extremely advanced
Seawolf class nuclear-powered attack submarines. These boats are
much more advanced than the boats other countries operate. Also
there are 14 state-of-the-art
Virginia class and 35 older Los Angeles class boats in service.
There are a
total of 14 active
class boats that carry nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. These
ballistic missile submarines have patrol areas in waters either
close to the US or in the remoter parts of the world's oceans,
making virtually impossible effective anti-submarine measures.
The US Navy
operates over 3 700 aircraft. Most of them are
F/A-18 series multi-role fighters, as well as other associated
aircraft, that are deployed on aircraft
fall of the Soviet Union, Russian navy inherited its fleet from the
Soviet navy. Since the
early 1990s with the end of the Cold War and constant funding
problems the Russian fleet has been significantly
reduced in size. Most of its vessels are Cold War era relics. During the last two decades the Russian navy
faces constant problems maintaining its major combatants due to
limited funding. Still though it remains an exceptionally formidable
force with around 140 000 personnel, numerous warships and
navy operates a single
Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. It is not as capable as the
American carriers and carries less aircraft. Still though it remains
a formidable and fearsome vessel.
Service of the
Admiral Kuznetsov in the Russian navy is plagued with various
accidents and plane crashes. There are problems with the ship's
Russia definitely struggles maintaining its only aircraft carrier
and keeping it operational. There are no immediate plans in Russia
to build a successor for this ship.
navy operates a single
Veliky battlecruiser, but apparently also struggles to maintain this
massive warship. Also there are 3 smaller
class missile cruisers that have
great anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine capabilities.
There are around 15 destroyers, including
Udaloy class anti-submarine warfare destroyers and
Sovremenny class general-purpose destroyers. Also there are
around 9 frigates and 24 corvettes.
naval infantry is not that numerous and has only around 12 000
personnel. Marines are delivered ashore by a single
Ivan Gren class amphibious transport ship. There are another 15
Ropucha I and Ropuch II class landing ships and 4 Alligator class
landing ships. These
vessels provide long-range amphibious capability. However the
Russian amphibious transports are much smaller and less capable than
their US counterparts.
operates a number of nuclear-powered attack submarines. There are a
class nuclear-powered boats, that make up about half of Russia's
dwindling nuclear-powered attack submarines fleet. A couple of new
class nuclear-powered boats are being constructed. Also there
Oskar II class cruise missile submarines. These are the largest
attack submarines ever constructed and are intended to attack US
aircraft carrier battle groups and coastal installations. Also there
class diesel-powered patrol submarines, used for defense of
that the Russian navy is heavily investing in its new
class ballistic missile submarines. A total of 3 of these boats are in
service while another 5 are being constructed at a rather fast pace.
These boats carry nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles. There
are a couple of older
Delta IV class ballistic missile boats that also pose a
significant threat. Worth noting that older Russian submarines of
all types might have
lower readiness due to insufficient funding.
On paper the Russian
navy looses to Chinese navy
in terms of warship number and tonnage. However the Russian navy
operates a number of proven and extremely deadly ballistic missile
naval aviation operates around 360 aircraft, including a small
long-range anti-submarine warfare aircraft,
Il-38 medium-range anti-submarine warfare aircraft, and
Su-24 tactical bombers.
is officially called the People's Liberation Army Navy. Until the
late 1980s it was largely a riverine and littoral force. Since the
early 1990s China began expanding its fleet and is currently
building new warships and submarines at a rapid pace. The Chinese
navy has around 255 000 personnel. Currently it is the second
largest navy after the US Navy in terms of tonnage. Furthermore it
has the largest number of major combatants.
Chinese navy operated a single
aircraft carrier. It is mainly uses as a training vessel. However a
similar carrier, the
was commissioned in 2019.
around 30 destroyers, 50 frigates and 40 corvettes. Though some of
the older warships are not as capable as their Western or even
Russian counterparts. On the other hand new advanced warships are
being built at extremely fast pace. Additionally around 5-6
055 class guided missile cruisers are nearing completion and
should be operational in 2020.
amphibious assault forces operate 4 amphibious transport docks, 32
tank landing ships and 31 medium landing ships. Chinese navy
has 10 000 marines that can be landed on hostile shores.
navy operates a fleet of 68 submarines. These are 4
Jin class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines,
that carry nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.
However so far
these missile submarines have not conducted any
operational deterrence patrols, possibly due to various problems and
design flaws. Still though these ballistic missile boats have high
probability of surviving the first strike, once the country has been
attacked. Also there are
class nuclear-powered attack submarines, a single Qing class
diesel-powered attack submarine, 15 Yuan class diesel-powered
patrols submarines, as well as 13
class diesel-powered patrol
Chinese navy also operates more than 700 aircraft.
Its primary mission is to provide air defense for the fleet. There
are over 140 multi-role fighters. Chinese naval aviation also
operates a number of
JH-7 maritime attack aircraft and over 30
These are intended to engage US carrier battle groups.
navy, officially referred as Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF),
consists of 50 800 personnel, over 150 ships and nearly 346
aircraft. The Maritime Self-Defense Force is officially limited to
defensive doctrine due to Japan's constitution.
It operates technologically advanced warships and
submarines. Also the Japanese navy is maintained in a high state of
readiness and is extremely efficient. So even though Japan's navy
looses to Chinese navy in terms of sheer warship number and tonnage,
Japanese warships are typically more advanced and are packed with
state-of-the art weapons. However the JMSDF does not have any
navy has got no aircraft carriers, however there 2 large
Hyuga class helicopter carriers. These are multi-role ships that
can conduct amphibious operations, anti-surface and anti-submarine
warfare. These large helicopter carriers provide the Maritime
Self-Defense Force with great force projection capability. In 2018
it was announced that the Izumo class warships will be rebuilt as
aircraft carriers as a response to rapid China's fleet buildup.
navy operates 26 destroyers, including
class large anti-air warfare destroyers and
class large general purpose destroyers. Actually these warships are
nearly as large as cruisers. Also there are 4
Aikizuki class general purpose destroyers.
There and around
10 frigates, plus 6 small destroyer escorts (corvettes).
has got 3 large landing ships. Japan's marines are not numerous and
number just over 3 000 personnel. This naval infantry is officially
a part of Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces. Officially role of the
Japan's marines is to counter-attack on captured islands and retake
them. Though Japan is gradually increasing its expeditionary units.
navy has around 20 submarines. Interestingly these are
diesel-powered attack submarines. As far as Japan does not use
military warships with nuclear propulsion, it developed
technologically advanced diesel-powered boat that have extended
endurance and significant offensive capabilities. However Japan has got no
ballistic missile submarines or nuclear ballistic missiles.
aviation includes nearly 70
Lockheed P-3C Orions and a dozen of
Kawasaki P-1s maritime patrol aircraft.
Navy of the
United Kingdom is officially referred as the Royal Navy. From the
mid 18th century the Royal Navy was the world's most powerful navy.
It was an unmatched power and played a key part in establishing the
British Empire. It was surpassed by the United States Navy only
during the World War II. Currently the Royal Navy is focused on
expeditionary operations and remains one of the world's foremost
blue-water navies. Though due to decreasing funding it is being
gradually reduced in size and warship number. Currently the Royal
Navy has around 33 000 personnel.
Navy operates a single
Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier. The second ship of the
class is planned to be commissioned within the next few years.
Though these are much smaller than US aircraft carriers and slightly
smaller than Russian and Chinese carriers.
navy operates 6
Daring class anti-air warfare destroyers. These vessels can
patrol large areas and provide air defense for the fleet. Also there
are 13 Duke class frigates that serve alongside the Daring class
destroyers. These frigates are mainly intended for anti-submarine
Navy includes a well-regarded Royal Marine Commando Brigade. This
brigade has around 7 700 personnel. The Royal Marines is the
strongest naval infantry force in European Union. There are 2
class landing ships alongside with 3 Bay class logistical
There are 3
Astute class nuclear-powered attack submarines. Another 4 boats
of this class are being constructed. Also there are 3 active
Trafalgar class nuclear-powered attack boats, that will be
gradually retired within the next few years.
Navy also operates 4
Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines. Each of these boats
can carry a maximum of 192 nuclear warheads. Such load is sufficient
to wipe-out entire countries. A single Vanguard-class boat is on
deterrence patrol at any one time. Details on these patrols are
still highly classified.
Fleet Air Arm mainly operates various naval helicopters for search
and rescue, anti-submarine warfare, utility and other roles. The
Sea Harrier and Harrier II close support aircraft were retired
back in 2006 and 2011 respectively. A number of
stealthy multi-role fighters were ordered as a replacement. These
will operate from the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
Marine Nationale is one of the world's oldest naval forces.
Currently it has around 36 000 personnel.
navy operates a single
Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. It is the flagship of the
French navy. It is the only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, built
outside the United States. However it is much smaller than the US
carriers. The second aircraft carrier, similar to the British
Queen Elizabeth class was planned, however these plans were
There are 2
Horizon class anti-air warfare destroyers.
These ocean-going warships are officially referred as frigates.
However considering their size and powerful armament these ships are
clearly destroyers. These are called frigates purely for political
reasons. Also there are 2 older
Cassard class and 4
Georges Leygues class destroyers, that should be retired soon
The French navy operates 4
Aquitaine class guided missile frigates. More vessels of this
class are being built. These new frigates will soon replace the
Cassard class and Georges Leygues class destroyers and replaced by
Aquitaine class frigates. There are 5 smaller La Fayette class and 6
Floreal class frigates.
navy operates 3
Mistral class amphibious assault ships. These are the largest
warships after the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. Primary
mission for these ships are amphibious landing operations. They also
provide command and force projection capability. The French navy
includes a naval infantry brigade, which is around 8 000 men strong.
These are expeditionary forces, that can be landed on hostile shores
and perform armored raids up to 100 km into enemy territory.
There are 4
class and 2
Amethyste class attack submarines. These are the smallest
nuclear-powered attack boats. Currently new
nuclear-powered attack submarines are being built in France to
replace the current boats.
navy operates 4
Le Triomphant class ballistic missile submarines, that provide
the backbone of the French nuclear deterrent.
naval aviation has around 210 aircraft, including ground- and
carrier-based aircraft. These include navalized
Rafale multi-role fighters,
Hawkeye carrier-borne early warning aircraft and Atlantique II
maritime patrol aircraft.
Navy has around 67 000 personnel. It is a formidable force in South
Asia. It is slowly but surely upgrading its equipment and
transforming from coastal force to a real ocean-going force. However
it significantly looses in terms of size and capabilities to the
the Indian Navy operates a single
Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.
This carrier is rather humble in terms of aircraft number. Another
aircraft carrier, the INS
Vikrant, is being built in India and should become operational
in the near future. It will significantly increase India's force
Indian Navy operates a total of 11 destroyers, including 3
Kolkata class guided missile destroyers. These new warships are
among the most capable destroyers in the world. Also there are 3
class and 5 older
are 13 frigates in service with the Indian Navy. Some
of them are modern designs, including 3
Shivalik class and 6
class guided missile frigates. Also there are 3 older
Brahmaputra class and a single Godavari class frigates.
there are around 20 corvettes, that are intended to protect costal
Navy operates one large INS Jalashwa amphibious transport and 8
smaller landing ships (3 Shardul class, 2 Magar class, 3 Kumbhir
class). These vessels are designed to deliver troops ant their
equipment on hostile shores or to counter-attack on captured Indian
shores. However India has got no dedicated naval infantry due to the
lack of necessary equipment.
Navy operates a single
Arikhant class ballistic missile submarine. The second boat of
the class will be commissioned in the near future. These
nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines were developed and
built in high secrecy. It was a milestone in the development of the
Indian Navy. India joined five other countries, capable of designing
and building nuclear-powered submarines.
There is a
single nuclear-powered attack submarine. The INS Chakra is a Russian
Akula II class submarine, leased to India. Also Indian Navy is
introducing modern Kalvari class diesel-powered patrol submarines.
These are Franco-Spanish
Scorpene class boats with some modifications, built for the
Indian Navy. The lead boat was commissioned, 2 more boats should
become operational soon, and 3 more boats are being constructed.
Also the Indian Navy operates 9 Sindhughosh class diesel-powered
patrol submarines. These are obsolete Soviet Cold War era
class boats. There are 4 active
Shisumar class (German
206 class) diesel-powered boats.
Air Arm has around 210 aircraft. These include various types of
carrier-based aircraft, as well 8-12 modern
Boeing P-8I Neptune and around 5 ageing
Ilyushin Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft.
decades ago South Korean navy was little known. However recently it
was transformed from a coastal force into a capable ocean-going
force. Currently it has 70 000 personnel.
Korean navy has got no aircraft carriers. However there is a single
class amphibious assault ship. It is similar in size to light
aircraft carriers. It is a flagship of the South Korean navy. Another ship of this class is
being built and is planned to be commissioned in 2020.
There are 3
Sejong the Great class guided missile destroyers. These are
among the most advanced warships afloat today. Currently these are
the most capable destroyers in the world after the American
Zumwalt class. The Sejong the Great class ships carry a variety
of missiles and capable of meeting virtually any threat at sea, on
land, or in the air. In terms of displacement and weaponry these
warships are closer to cruisers. Also there are 6 Chungmugong Yi
Sun-sin class multi-purpose destroyers and 3
Kwanggateo the Great class destroyers (though some refer these
warships as frigates).
There is a
single active Daegu class air defense frigate, which was
commissioned in 2018. Three more warships of this class are under
construction. Also there are 6 Incheon class coastal defense
frigates. The South Korean navy operates 6 old Ulsan class frigates,
that were commissioned between early 1980s and early 1990s. Though
these older ships are planned to be decommissioned in the near
Korean navy operates 7 German
214 class (locally known as Sohn Won-yil class)
diesel-powered submarines with air independent propulsion system.
Also there are 9 older
Chang Bogo class diesel-powered submarines.
Koran Marine Corps are modeled after the US Marines Corps and have
around 29 000 personnel. In case of war these forces can be deployed
on North Korean territory and on other islands. There are 2 active
Cheong Wang Bong class amphibious landing ships. Two more ships of
this class are under construction. Also there are 4 Go Jun Bong
class amphibious landing ships.
Korean naval aviation has around 70 aircraft. Most of these are
actually helicopters. Though there are 16 Lockheed Martin
P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
navy (officially Marina Militare Italiana) has an ocean-going fleet
and around 31 000 personnel. The Italian navy operates warships of
There is a
Cavour light aircraft carrier. It serves as a flagship of the
It can operate V/STOL aircraft (such as the Harriers and
F-35Bs), as well as helicopters. The
Cavour can also transport military personnel and vehicles.
Giuseppe Garibaldi aircraft carrier in service with the Italian
navy. There is also a smaller
Giuseppe Garibaldi light aircraft carrier.
Italian navy operates 2
Horizon class destroyers. For political reasons these warships
are officially referred as frigates. However considering their size
and powerful armament these ships are clearly destroyers. Also there
are 2 older Durand de la Penne class multi-role destroyers. The
Marina Militare operates 6 smaller
Carlo Bergamini class guided missile destroyers and 4 more are
being built and should be comissioned soon. These vessels are also
officially referred as frigates, but are much larger and more
powerful than most frigates in the world and even some destroyers.
There are 6 active Maestrale class anti-submarne frigates. Though
all of these warships are planned to be decommissioned within the
next couple of years. There are 2 smaller Soldati class patrol
The Italian navy has a 3 800 men strong San Marco marine brigade.
This amphibious brigades relies on 3
San Giorgio class amphibious transport ships. The third ship of
the class, San Giusto, is built to improved standard and can carry
more troops. Currently
Italy is building a single
Trieste amphibious assault ship. that
is planned to be commissioned in 2022. Once in service it will replace the
less capable Giuseppe Garibaldi
light aircraft carrier.
There are 4 Salvatore Torado class (German
212 class) diesel-powered boats with air independent propulsion
system and 4 older
class diesel-powered patrol submarines.
naval aviation is 2 000 personnel strong and operates a dozen of
AV-8B Harrier II close support aircraft. Another 29-30
F-35B multi-role fighters were ordered for use onboard Italian
aircraft carriers. There is a small number of maritime patrol
aircraft, though these are operated by the Italian air force, rather
than the Italian navy.
navy has got 38 000 personnel. Most of its warships are purchased
from the United States. Some warships were obtained from other
countries. Though Taiwan is also capable of building its own
On this Top
10 list the Taiwanese navy competed with Indonesian navy for the
10th position. Even though Indonesian navy has twice the personnel
and significantly more warships, most of its fleet is limited to
costal operations, while the Taiwanese navy operates a number of
ocean-going frigates. Another powerful player, that not made to this
Top 10 list was a Turkish navy, which is also powerful and has a
strong costal fleet, which is mainly intended to operate in the
There are 4
Kee Lung class destroyers. These are former US Kidd class
destroyers. Though the vessels were overhauled and upgraded, before
being delivered to the Taiwanese navy.
Taiwanese navy operates a total of 20 frigates. These include 8
Cheng Kung class frigates. These warships were produced in Taiwan
and are based on a US
Oliver Hazard Perry class. There are 6 Chi Yang class (former US
Knox class) and 6 Knag Ding class (French-built La Fayette class)
There are a
total of 10 landing ships. These include a sole Hsu Hai (former US
Anchorage class) and 2 Chung He class ships (former US Newport
Taiwanese navy has got only 2 useful Hai Lung class submarines.
These are Dutch Zwaardvis class boats, purchased from the
Netherlands back in the mid 1980s.
Taiwanese naval aviation
operates 12 refurbished and upgraded
P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.