10. Taiwan (Republic of China Navy)
Over the last two decades, the Republic of China Navy has made significant upgrades in naval equipment, mostly by purchasing ships from the US. Taiwan needs a powerful maritime force in order to defend itself from a possible blockade or aggression from China.
The Republic of China Navy is composed of around 38,000 active personnel with over 100 ships on active duty. More specifically, the fleet consists of 4 destroyers, 20 frigates, 31 missile boats, 2 submarines, 12 patrol ships, 1 corvette, 9 minesweepers, 10 amphibious ships, 10 auxiliary ships, and 28 aircrafts.
Quite the formidable fleet, eh? I bet you didn’t expect a small country to have that kind of navy force. Of course, China has the more powerful navy. But you can count on Taiwan to put up a good fight should the two countries engage in maritime warfare. Of course, let’s hope the two countries don’t ever go head-to-head in the future.
9. Italy (Italian Navy)
The Italian Navy was formed in 1946. The Italian maritime force was called the Royal Navy until the Kingdom of Italy was replaced by the Italian Republic after World War II.
Composed of nearly 31,000 active personnel, the Italian Navy has all kinds of modern ships ready to be deployed anytime to protect the country from maritime threats. The fleet includes 2 aircraft carriers, 8 attack submarines, 3 amphibious assault ships, 4 destroyers, 13 frigates, 2 corvettes, 10 offshore patrol ships, 10 minehunters, and 4 coastal patrol boats.
The Italian Navy also has a wide range of auxiliary and support ships, which include diving support ships, hydrographic survey ships, coastal oil tanker ships, coastal transport ships, and coastal tugboats. Italy is continuously upgrading its navy forces, so expect the Italian Navy to become even more formidable within the next few years.
8. South Korea (Republic of Korea Navy)
Like Taiwan, South Korea has been steadily upgrading its naval forces since the 1990s. But unlike the Republic of China Navy, almost all of the ships deployed by the Republic of Korea Navy were built on home soil, with most of the ships built by big-name companies such as Hyundai and Daewoo.
The Republic of Korea Navy has approximately 70,000 active personnel, more than the combined personnel of the Italian Navy and the Republic of China Navy. The fleet includes 16 submarines, 1 amphibious assault ship, 6 landing ships, 8 landing crafts, 12 destroyers, 13 frigates, 16 corvettes, 11 mine countermeasures ships, and 70 patrol ships. Additionally, the Republic of Korea Navy has approximately 70 aircrafts.
With the threat of North Korea always on the horizon, South Korea definitely needs a powerful navy in order to protect itself against sea-based attacks from its neighbor. Fortunately, the South Korean economy has been steadily rising since the Korean War, allowing the government to spend a hefty amount of money on modern military equipment.
Based on how things are currently unfolding with North Korea, you can bet the South Korean government is looking into bolstering the country’s naval defenses even more.
7. India (Indian Navy)
Formerly called the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Navy is one of the largest navies in the world, composed of over 67,000 active personnel and over 200 ships, which includes auxiliary and support ships. The Indian Navy is made up of both domestically produced ships and ships originating from other countries such as Russia, Germany, Israel, and Sri Lanka.
The Indian Navy has 1 aircraft carrier, 1 nuclear-powered attack submarine, 1 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, 14 conventionally powered submarines, 11 destroyers, 14 frigates, 1 amphibious warfare ship, 8 landing ships, 8 landing crafts, 24 corvettes, 4 minesweepers, 1 torpedo recovery ship, 10 offshore patrol ships, 19 patrol ships, 110 patrol boats, and various auxiliary and support ships.
Commanded by the Chief of the Naval Staff, the Indian Army is one of the best navy forces in the world, capable of deterring all sorts of maritime threats. Overall, India fields one of the best militaries in the world. Not to mention, the country is also equipped with nukes.
6. France (French Navy)
Formed in 1624, the French Navy is one of the oldest navy forces in the world. Nicknamed “La Royale,” the French Navy participated in both World Wars and was instrumental in establishing the French colonial empire.
The French Navy is composed of about 36,000 active personnel and has over 200 aircrafts. The fleet includes 1 aircraft carrier, 4 ballistic missile submarines, 6 attack submarines, 3 amphibious warfare ships, 4 air-defense destroyers, 8 anti-submarine destroyers, 5 general-purpose frigates, 6 surveillance frigates, 21 patrol ships, and 18 mine countermeasures ships.
The roster also includes a number of auxiliary and support ships, including training ships, tugboats, and replenishment ships. France is also one of the top 10 countries with the most powerful nuclear weapons in the world, so the fact that it has such a formidable maritime force isn’t really surprising.
5. United Kingdom (Royal Navy)
The Royal Navy is a branch of Her Majesty’s Naval Service, which also includes the Royal Marines, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, and Naval Careers Service. Founded in 1546, the Royal Navy was once hailed the most powerful navy in the world.
The Royal Navy boasts a fleet of modernized ships, all built in the United Kingdom except for one ship, the HMS Protector. The fleet includes 1 aircraft carrier, 4 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, 6 nuclear-powered fleet submarines, 3 amphibious warfare ships, 6 destroyers, 13 frigates, 3 offshore patrols ships, 13 minehunters, 18 fast patrol boats, 4 survey ships, and 1 icebreaker (the aforementioned HMS Protector).
Additionally, the Royal Navy employs a Type 82 destroyer, the HMS Bristol, and a ship of the line, the HMS Victory. The latter is notable for being the oldest naval ship still in commission and serves as the flagship of the First Sea Lord.
4. Japan (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force was formally created in 1954, several years after the Imperial Japanese Navy was scrapped following World War II. It has nearly 51,000 active personnel and has a fleet composed of over 150 ships and over 300 aircrafts, making it one of the largest navy forces in the world.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force includes 17 attack submarines, 26 destroyers, 10 frigates, 4 helicopter destroyers, 6 corvettes, 3 landing ships, 2 landing crafts, 25 mine countermeasures ships, 6 patrol ships, and 8 training ships. The auxiliary fleet is composed of 5 replenishment ships, 5 training support ships, and various other ships, including an icebreaker and an experiment ship.
Just like South Korea, Japan has been recently upgrading its navy equipment in order to have the proper defense against the threat of North Korea. In fact, the Japanese government has been contemplating about deploying nuclear weapons as a deterrent against North Korea.
3. Russia (Russian Navy)
Officially formed in 1992 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the current Russian Navy is one of the largest navy forces in the world. It features about 148,000 active personnel, nearly tripling the active personnel of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. It has over 300 active ships and over 300 aircrafts.
The main fleet of the Russian Navy is composed of 1 aircraft carrier, 1 battlecruiser, 3 cruisers, 13 destroyers, 8 frigates, 78 corvettes, 17 SSN attack submarines, 22 SSK attack submarines, 13 ballistic missile submarines, 7 cruise missile submarines, 3 special-purpose submarines, 19 landing ship tanks, 32 landing crafts, 14 special-purpose ships, 41 patrol boats, and 47 mine countermeasures ships.
Though Russia is more known for its powerful ground forces, the Russian Navy will be quick to remind everyone that the country is also heavily armed for maritime skirmishes.
2. China (People’s Liberation Army Navy)
The People’s Liberation Army Navy has rapidly developed into one of the most powerful navy forces in the world. It has the largest number of major combatants of any navy and has over 250,000 active personnel, a number only second to the US.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy is composed of – take a deep breath – 1 aircraft carrier, 5 amphibious transport docks, 1 mobile landing platform, 32 landing ship tanks, 31 landing ship mediums, 8 SSN attack submarines, 55 SSK attack submarines, 5 ballistic missile submarines, 2 experimental submarines, 34 destroyers, 51 frigates, 42 corvettes, 109 missile boats, 94 submarine chasers, 17 gunboats, 29 mine countermeasures ships, 12 replenishment ships, and over 200 auxiliary ships.
Furthermore, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has over 700 aircrafts in service. In summary: Don’t mess with China. Ever.
1. United States (United States Navy)
The United States Navy is hands down the best and most powerful navy in the world. It eclipses all the other navies in the world by an almost comical margin. It has over 300,000 active personnel with another 100,000 in reserve. Most notably, the United States Navy can deploy over 3,700 aircrafts, which is a totally insane number.
The list of commissioned ships of the United States Navy includes 11 aircraft carriers, 9 amphibious assault ships, 2 amphibious command ships, 11 amphibious transport docks, 52 attack submarines, 14 ballistic missile submarines, 4 guided missile submarines, 1 classic frigate, 22 cruisers, 65 destroyers, 12 dock landing ships, 1 expeditionary mobile base, 10 littoral combat ships, 11 mine countermeasures ships, 13 patrol boats, and 2 submarine tenders.
Technically, the USS Pueblo, a technical research ship, is still in commission. However, it is currently held captive by North Korea, which attacked and captured the ship for allegedly entering North Korean territory in 1968.
The US is easily the top country with the best navy force in the world. And it will most likely remain at the top for the foreseeable future, based on how much the US government spends on military equipment.