Most Powerful Military
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Defense budgets of countries in Southeast Asia show an upward trend significantly. Indeed, Singapore which is not in the Top 5 Strongest Military in Southeast Asia, shows seriousness to strengthen its armed forces. International Peace Institute reveals a data, in the period of 2008-2012, Singapore is the 5th largest arms importers in the world. In fact, this small country only has a population of fewer than 7 million people – in military spending Singapore reached 20% of the total government budget. In the matter of the military budget, in 2013, Singapore has allocated US$ 12 billion, Malaysia is only US$ 5 billion, and Indonesia US$ 7.5 billion.

Regarding quality platforms (primary equipment defense system), Singapore’s war machine is much higher quality than Malaysia and even Indonesia. Singapore’s military spending role is always the United States (US), not to the Russians especially China. Singapore’s military is now touted as the Israeli military – not high in numbers, but it could shake the surrounding countries.

1. Indonesia Military

Populous 4th in the world, Indonesia has plentiful Human Resources (HR). Moreover, with the bonus addition of demographic productive age range of 20 to 30s that will be created in the beginning of 2020. That means, in the next two decades, the Indonesian human resources can be mobilized at any time to be Army Reserve. Unfortunately, the demographic bonus is not actualized in the form of conscription (Draft) programmed seriously. Draftee only takes place in a handful of universities alone.

Apart from that, the defense budget that continues to grow is a marker of the seriousness of this country enlarge its military stance.

In the list of 10 strongest military in the world, Indonesia is not included. Data from 2016, the Indonesian military is in 14th position in World Military. However, in one decade to the next, the Indonesian army is very likely to penetrate the ranks of the world’s military elite. Outside King of ASEAN, Indonesia is now added to the list of 10 strongest military in Asia-Pacific.

Indonesia Military - Strongest Military in Southeast Asia
Indonesia Military – Strongest Military in Southeast Asia (via

Total Population: 294,392,725
Square Land Area: 1,990,250 (KM)
Active Frontline Personnel: 547,400
Active Reserve Personnel: 460,000
Military Budget: US$ 7,935,000,000

Land Systems
Tank: 538 units
Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 1,252
Self-Propelled Gunn (SPGs): 43
Towed Artillery: 92
Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 99

Air Power
Total Aircraft: 483
Fighters/Interceptors: 40
Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 67
Transport Aircraft: 196
Trainer Aircraft: 124
Helicopters: 175
Attack Helicopters: 6

Naval Power
Total Naval Strength: 254
Aircraft Carriers: 0
Frigates: 7
Destroyers: 0
Corvettes: 12
Submarines: 2
Coastal Defense Craft: 76
Mine Warfare: 14

Read More: Strongest Military in Europe

2. Vietnam Military

Vietnam, the country that renowned with its guerrilla warfare tradition is too powerful to be ignored in Southeast Asia, and even Asia. In Asia, the Vietnamese armed forces have been in the Top 10.

Escalation of Vietnam’s military defense equipment escalation has increased significantly, now overshadow the Indonesian military.

Vietnam Military - Increasing Military Budget Significantly
Vietnam Military – Increasing Military Budget Significantly (via

Total Population: 108,501,160
Square Land Area: 329,560 (KM)
Active Frontline Personnel: 477,250
Active Reserve Personnel: 5,796,000
Defense Budget: US$ 3,869,750,000

Land Systems
Tanks: 1691
Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 3,623
Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs): 603
Towed-Artillery: 2,530 units
Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 1,265

Air Power
Total Aircraft: 332
Fighters/Interceptors: 84
Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 84
Transport Aircraft: 185
Trainer Aircraft: 30
Helicopters: 173
Attack Helicopters: 29

Naval Power
Total Naval Strength: 75
Aircraft Carriers: 0
Frigates: 8
Destroyers: 0
Corvettes: 13
Submarines: 6
Coastal Defense Craft: 26
Mine Warfare: 9

3. Thailand Military

Thailand Military Artilery
Thailand Military Artillery (via

Foreign military forces of the White Elephant, Thailand, should not be looked down upon. Thailand’s Military was the first country in Southeast Asia that has Aircraft Carrier. This aircraft carrier as the symbol of Thailand’s military power has been around since the late 1990s. Unfortunately, the aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet was not supporteda capable fighter jet squadrons.

Read more: Nuclear Threat for World War 3

Total Population: 78,172,866
Square Land Area: 514,000 (KM)
Active Frontline Personnel: 356,500
Active Reserve Personnel: 281 750
Defense Budget: US$ 6,198,500,000

Land Systems
Tanks: 830
Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 3,006
Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs): 30
Towed-Artillery: 799
Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 15

Air Power
Total Aircraft: 634
Fighters/Interceptors: 87
Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 109
Transport Aircraft: 376
Trainer Aircraft: 170
Helicopters: 324
Attack Helicopters: 8

Naval Power
Total Naval Strength: 93
Aircraft Carriers: 1
Frigates: 8
Destroyers: 0
Corvettes: 7
Submarines: 0
Coastal Defense Craft: 36
Mine Warfare: 8

4. Malaysia Military

Malaysian military can not be underestimated. This commonwealth country is in the Top 40 World’s Strongest Military from 126 countries. Its defense budget continues to be boosted.

Malaysia Military Parade
Malaysia Military Parade (via

Regarding the number of artillery (tactical vehicle war), even the Indonesian military is under Malaysia. The number of its air fleet was arguably tied with the Indonesian military. In short, if compared with Indonesia, the only defeat of Malaysia is in the number of active personals.

Total Population: 35,090,925
Square Land Area: 329,750 (KM)
Active Frontline Personnel: 126,500
Active Reserve Personnel: 340,975
Defense Budget: US$ 5.405,000

Land Systems
Tanks: 85
Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 1516
Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs): 0
Towed-Artillery: 212
Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 62

Air Power
Total Aircraft: 261
Fighters/Interceptors: 48
Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 63
Transport Aircraft: 110
Trainer Aircraft: 78
Helicopters: 91
Attack Helicopters: 0

Naval Power
Total Naval Strength: 70
Aircraft Carriers: 0
Frigates: 2
Destroyers: 0
Corvettes: 7
Submarines: 2
Coastal Defense Craft: 47
Mine Warfare: 5

5. Myanmar Military

Myanmar’s military was widely discussed internationally. Myanmar military famous in the world specifically as a suppressor of unrecognized ethnic in his own country, the Rohingya.

However, not long ago broke the news that Myanmar has strengthened his armypurchasing a number of modern air defense missiles of the Red Bear State, Russia.

Myanmar Military Parade
Myanmar Military Parade (via

Total Population: 64,768,237
Square Land Area: 678,500 (KM)
Active Frontline Personnel: 466 900
Active Reserve Personnel: 0
Defense Budget: US$ 2,760,000,000

Land Systems
Tanks: 654
Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 1,562
Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs): 124
Towed-Artillery: 1,017
Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 124

Air Power
Total Aircraft: 283
Fighters/Interceptors: 64
Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 89
Transport Aircraft: 112
Trainer Aircraft: 67
Helicopters: 100
Attack Helicopters: 10

Naval Power
Total Naval Strength: 178
Aircraft Carriers: 0
Frigates: 6
Destroyers: 0
Corvettes: 3
Submarines: 0
Coastal Defense Craft: 39
Mine Warfare: 1

Read: Countries that Potentially Begin World War 3

Top 5 Strongest Military In Southeast Asia

Although the Indonesian military is still the strongest in Southeast Asia, the country’s military strength in the region in terms of the condition is not too much difference. The most clearly noticeable of course only in terms of Active Frontline Personnel and Active Reserve Personnel, which the Indonesian army is still far superior – it was because of the population of Indonesia becomes an excess factor.

When the Indonesian military did not add to its military defense budget and conduct a significant leap forward, not impossible, in less than a decade, the Indonesian military will be knocked out of its first order in Top 5 Strongest Military in Southeast Asia. [CT]

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