SA Army Source: Google Images

South Africa’s National Defence Force (SANDF) has placed third in Africa and 32nd in the world in the 2019 Military Strength Ranking by Global Firepower.

The Global Firepower ranks 137 countries annually in order of their potential ‘war-making capabilities across land, sea and air’ with the use of conventional weapons. In 2019, a new nation was added to the ranking: Moldova in Eastern Europe.

South Africa’s ranking on the list remains unchanged since last year and the country’s airpower ranking has placed 46th out of 137.

Global Firepower’s website says, “South Africa continues to showcase one of the more technologically-advanced militaries – backed by a mature local industry – in all of Africa.”

Various factors are taken into consideration when ranking a country, but these are not just limited to the country’s total number of weapons available, nuclear weapons and stockpiles or current political or military leadership.

An estimated 55 factors contribute to where a nation ranks on the index, including the following:  

– The country’s financial stability or “health”.

– The ‘total available manpower’, which refers to the country’s total population and theoretical available fighting strength.

– Various geographical factors, logistical flexibility and natural resources in the country

– The nation’s weapon diversity.

– Whether the country is considered at a first-, second- or third-world status.

-NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies are given a bonus point as they share war-making resources with other countries.

Global Firepower gathers information which is publicly available at the time of publishing to draw their conclusions but is not able to showcase presented values exactly as there is limited reporting from some nations due to a lack of transparency or other factors.

Top 5 armies in Africa 

1. Egypt

2. Algeria

3. South Africa

4. Nigeria

5. Ethiopia

The top 10 armies in the world: 

1. United States of America

2. Russia

3. China

4. India

5. France

6. Japan

7. South Korea

8. United Kingdom

9. Turkey

10. Germany