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Who has a more powerful military, Russia or Britain?
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Who has a more powerful military, Russia or Britain?

I have been reading a lot of debate regarding this question. I want to hear what you think, and your rationale.


I hate the ruskies, they think they are so powerful and Putin is taking them back another 30 years...........as for the answer you seek, well, it is not about who is more powerful as far as military is concerned, but who is on who's side.....when there is conflict, it is your friends that are important........the ruskies fail here, they don't have any! China maybe, but will they be there for them if it comes to war?

One never knows the true standing of the military in each country as there is so much not really known!

Victory Soldier
There are two very important factors that would benefit the UK and handicap Russia.

The British have a professional military -- highly trained and with centuries of tradition and Esprit De Corps. The Russians have a conscript army with little to be proud of -- only a few decades ago an officers job was to shoot retreating soldiers, not to lead. In wars past this was roughly a factor of 15 force multiplier. E.G. 1 professional division roughly equal to 15 conscript divisions on the battlefield.

The British have the GDP on their side by about 12% (2T UK, 1.75 Russia). Most people never think of this, but when it comes to mobilization, it is the logistics that win or lose the war, even though the Army wins or loses the battles. If the UK can pump out more beans and bullets faster, they will triumph over Russia -- assuming they don't do something really stupid to mess it up.

However, if it came down to a fight between the two -- the UK wins without contest. They are part of NATO, and that means the United States has got their back.

And we really are the biggest, baddest, meanest, ************ on the block.

Russia has a more powerful military. Britain has enough money to run theirs.


I suspect we have no idea of the extent of Russia's military capability but I would not wish to but it to the test. Britain is now a relatively minor military nation but we remain active in two main areas of conflict. If Russia pressed a little button I suspect our little island could vanish from the map of the world.

Answer Me!
Difficult one to answer. For sheer numbers it has to be Russia. For quality it is the UK. Sadly, the Labour Govt has seen to it that our conventional forces have been rendered impotent by starvation of funding and a steady decline in platform numbers which despite the BS that they spout, has hurt our capability enormously. This is particularly the case with the Royal Navy.
I would dispute Lavadog's little table. The UK's forces are on a par with France at least and nowhere does it mention that we have 4 Vanguard submarines armed with 16 Trident D5 showstoppers a-piece. All other nuclear nations were credited with that unfortunate accolade however.

Goth! But am I bovvered?
Hmm. Define Powerfull.

Currently, the British Army is overstreched and underpowered, by trying to fight two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) with the smallest army in the history of it's existance.

Russia under Putin is a lone ranger. If Russia attacked England it would not be a one man fight, the UN would put in economic sanctions and NATO would come to our defence.

The field of battle that the other answers were talking of in a WW1 style, where armys' shoot from across the field is no longer likley to occur. An end would be swift and extreme. A Nuclear strike on Moscow Prehaps? Bear in mind that if Moscow and St Petersburg were taken out of the equation, a large percentage of the Russian Popultation is dead.

Manpower? Russia though. The largest langmass and a large popultation.

Rob Roy
Allowing for all the deviations from the question that have been made the answer must be Russia. The question was not in comparison with any other country for either Russia or Britain. In nuclear capability alone Britain is far outclassed.

I think the battlefield would make a difference to who was the most powerful, but overall would put my money on Russia, simply from a logistics point of view.

russia has a bigger navy then us and army better plains but the cant afford to run them but if china help we would be f..ked

Russia - raw numbers count for a lot in a nearly even tech battle.

the boss
Does it matter. The UK has enough nukes to wipe out the planet.

First ask yourself who has the bigger population!

Bigger population = bigger security Forces including the Military & Police.

Bizarre answers as usual, however despite the fact that I love my country and am very proud of my armed forces, the simple facts are...

The entire British Army, as good as it is, wouldnt even fill Wembley Soccer stadium. The Russians have enough men to take casualties of ten to one and still wipe our army out in a couple of weeks.

Our equipment whilst modern is not reliable. The SA80, even in its latest A2 version is a toy compared to an AK47.

There are rich people in Texas who have bigger air forces than the RAF and again even though our pilots are superb the Russians could afford to lose ten planes to every one of ours before we would have run out of trained pilots and planes in about two days.

From a naval point of view, we simply dont have one any more. We have about a quarter of the ships we had in the Falklands, and even then we struggled to put a task force together and had to send the Marines 8000 miles to war on north sea ferries and the QE2.

Simply put the UK does not have an independant armed forces anymore. It has been designed (or starved) to operate as a specialist unit of NATO, and going forward some ill designed Euro force.

It is no longer any where near being describable as powerful.

carlos diablos
Britain has now. Russia can't even afford to feed its people, let alone fight a war. The cold war and the space race basically made Russia bankrupt and now people are starving on the streets. pity....


This declares that Russia is the 2nd most powerful military in the world. However, some believe that because Russia is lacking parts for many of its military vehicles, that it should be bumped down.


However, with most sites, you will see that it is agreed that Russia is the 2nd most powerful. This was concluded by a reputable "Think Tank".

So, in the end, it would seem that the world ranks Russia above the U.K.

Between the two countries, and not including their friends, Russia would win. They have the tech, numbers, and drive.

jim p
russia man...those guys are hard as hell....they even allow abuse in the russian military.....and the russian spetznaz??? there beyond the competition with britian

and you DO NOT want to get caught in an air battle with the russians

they currently run the SU-37s .....nothing that the british have can take that thing on..not the harrier..not the F18

Wren M
Officially both Jane's and the CIA list the UK as having the second most powerful military in the World.

The UK is the only other country in the World other than the US to be able to carry out 2 or more consecutive long term missions more than 1000 miles from home.

Despite recent cutback the UK has the 2nd largest navy in the world and operates the largest Carrier fleet out side of the US.

The UK has the 2nd highest military budget in the world, spending rough;y 4 times that of Russia.

Other factors to consider are;

The UK is a fully professional force, Russia is around 85% conscripts.

The UK is more technologically advanced than Russia.

Much of the Russian equipment is very old, outdated and worn.

To give you an idea in the last 6 years Russia has had 7 fatal accidents involving submarines. The UK has had none.

Well both Russia and Britain have "the bomb" so we start sort of "equal" in the eyes of God. But when it comes to tough hand to hand fighting Britain still have the Gurkhas. So think it is Britain that remains the best army, even if numerically inferior?


Gee I wonder which of us has the bigger army.

All different aspects contribute to the idea of 'powerful'. Yes, Russia has more manpower and more equipment than Britain, and with all due respect to one of the previous people answering, you may know hardship but you do not know what it is like to have sustained combat, Chechnia doesnt even cut it.

The majority of the tanks, ships and aircraft in the Russian arsenal is extremely outdated, for use during the cold-war. This is somewhat true for the Royal Navy, the bulk of our fleet is designed as anti-submarine, but since the 90s we have been changing that, with the replacement of the 42s with the 45s, even though we are stretched thin, we can still mobilize a formiddable force, with many ships in mothballs ready to be recalled to service crewed with reserves.

Russia has the power and force to take out the british military, but does not have the ability to, i.e they lack the finances and facilities.

Oh and to those refering to the Nukes, Russia wouldnt use them, it would spell their own destruction.

In terms of numbers of aircraft, soldiers, tanks etc.... the Russians win.
However, the only advantage in quality they have is their Su27 variant airframes.
British armour, jets, ships, soldiers and training is 1000x the quality of the Russians.
Its not about power and how hard you hit, its where you hit that counts. Despite the fact that our armed forces are poorly funded and have low numbers, we can project far more fire power then the Russians could even imagine.
The Russians only have one aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kusnetsov. It carries Su33's but these can only fly when armed for A2A combat. The cant get off the deck with bombs because it doesnt have any catapults.
So they dont have a projectable naval strike force. Their airforce could be brilliant if the avionics fit and tactical information systems the west have were implemented. Their TU160 Blackjacks are a ver impressive sight. Its a more powerful B1B. Unfortunately, I think the RAF, with the right tactics could hold their own against them.
The Army is in complete disarray. Its armour is outdated and so are its mobile missile systems. Russian training, though tough and brutal (which makes tough and strong soldiers) it isnt smart training. Man for Man, I dont think they would stand a chance against the British army.

In terms of raw firepower, complete explosive potential of their weapons, the Russians come top.
But the British armed forces would hit the right targets with the best possible weapons, accurately. I would take that strategy any day.
So I say the Brits. Better equipped, better trained, higher quality throughout. They just lack sheer numbers.

british hands down. royal marines...

Se√°n O
Define powerful. If Russia decided to remove Britain from the map they could do it easily - and without serious depreciation of inventory. Much of its equipment is old, and there has been little development in recent years - but its very rugged and can do the job. The snag with much of NATO's inventory is its dependency on frequent preventative maintenance and scheduled replacement of parts. Having said that - the British Tommy is a bloody good soldier - far superior to his Russian counterpart; but the reality is they represent less than 2% of modern battlefield destruction.

I don't know about powerful, more the will to fight, this countries so phucked up and we can't trust our politicians anymore, we've more races than the Olympics, just who in this country would help us fight and more to the point what the hell would we be fighting for, to protect what, we or should I say B liar has given away everything our forefathers fought to preserve and protect.
Ray.West York's. U.K.

Well in a toe to toe fight,Britain would be overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers alone.Russia has a more than substantial military.

However in a contested area,with both Britain and Russia only able to deploy small forces in equal numbers...i honestly believe the British have an advantage over the Russians.

Soldier Training

At the individual level,a British soldier is far better trained than his Russian Opponent...The ability to fire a rifle is just one aspect of being a modern soldier.Having your troops multi-traded and flexible is an absolute God-send for a commander,and British troops are trained to do each others role in emergency.

The weapons used by Infantry might not be a huge difference between the two forces,but the way they are used is more important.British Soldiers are taught individual marksmanship to a high standard,with extensive leaning towards small self contained fireteams ( approx 5 man teams ) that prove far more effective in combat.

Russian Infantry are very much less effective in small teams,until recently they trained and operated in old style Platoon sized shooting and attacks.

Again with individual NBC training the Brits have the advantage with the worlds best NBC suits ( military issued ) and good skills down to the single infantrymans level.


British Doctrine fully encourages ALL its soldiers to think for themselves,( believe it or not )that is why any member of a section can give fire orders if required.....and also the British Armys ace...Its NCO's cannot be bettered.They work as a team,but also train to continue the fight if isolated and make " command decisions " using their initiative.......quite simply,there is not a massive reliance on Officers.

The Russian Army is the exact opposite,They have very many fine and experienced officers/nco's and privates...but they are not encouraged to think outside their command structure..individual initiative is not exactly flavour of the month.


The British Army is the most widely deployed and active Army in the world when you take its size into account......Ignoring completely what one previous poster stated about them being " deployed in a couple of hotspots ",they have extensive anti-insurgency experience originating from their radical approach started in Burma to this threat,and honed and perfected in the Dozens of conflicts since...including the " training teams" active during vietnam ( only the Aussie SAS had better kill ratios )

Other hints at their expertise and reputation Bosnia and Kosovo,They were by far the most effective troops in Bosnia while waiting for it to go over to NATO command,and in both theatres they had the largest and most dangerous areas to Police.


Quick one on tanks,Challenger 2 is an exceptional Main Battle Tank,The new armour is far more effective than that carried on the Abrams,one on one there isnt another tank to better it( Leopard 2 newest variant in honesty is pretty stunning )
Assuming equal numbers of tanks....they have a good advantage here

To sum up,The Brits have a small Army...but that Army is highly experienced and active with substantial knowledge.In a equal fight they can hit damm hard.

America could beat them both at he same time. Who cares?

definitely Russia. aside from fact we have more troops, aircraft, ships, AFV's and nuclear missiles our soldiers are more accustomed to hardship than most British soldiers will ever know and Russian military training places lot of emphasis on enduring hardship like wet weather whereas UK military say 'here have goretex jacket to keep you dry and you have nice warm sleeping bag as well we want you to be comfortable' it puts soldier in mindset that he doesnt fight unless he can be comfortable, then along come Russian soldier who does not care about discomfort and he fights and wins battle. Russian military has available nearly 1.5 million troops as opposed to UK military which has less than 200, 000.

Comment for Sea Dog if you are reading this I doubt you have seen action in Chechnya how dare you speak of it this way saying it is not sustained combat action. I challenge you to go there and see for yourself. Russian army has seen more sustained action in the Chechen wars than British armed forces have seen since end of WWII we were involved in war on Islamic terror from 1991 onwards 10 years before America and the West got involved

1 - United States of America
It's manufacturing capabilities coupled with sheer numbers, advanced technology and nuclear capabilities keep the US on top. 48/60

2 - Russia
Though dwindled since the Cold War, Russia's numbers and nuclear capabilities keep it on top as the second most powerful army in the world. 37/60

3 - Israel
Manpower, sheer numbers and experience rank the Israeli armies among the top in the world. 35/60

4 - Germany
Surprising to find Germany this high on the list but it maintains a stellar peacekeeping force for itself - plus it does not maintain any costly overseas stations. 33/60

5 - China
Overall numbers and the possibility of nuclear capability rank China high on the list, but the fact remains that most of the force is untested in global conflicts, their equipment remains dated and forced conscription takes its toll. 32/60

6 - France and Pakistan Tie
France maintains units for self-defence and peacekeeping missions of its former colonies. Other than that, its primary force is more for its own protection than anything else, having been invaded by Germany twice in the 20th century. Nonetheless, its nuclear capabilities, strong commitment to maritime and defense, and a steady military keep it in the top ten. 31/60

Pakistan's recent experience as a US ally and its build up against India help it score well. It combats internal terrorism regularly but none-the-less maintains support through the US. 31/60

7 - South Korea
Build up over recent years and following up on their own military technology avenues, South Korea is a major player in todays military world. It's support from the US doesn't hurt its ranking either and the provided equipment and training gives it an edge over its northern aggressor. 30/60

8 - Iran
Iran's manpower and supposed nuclear capability rank it in the top ten, but its dated equipment and lack of recent experience bring it out of the top 5. 29/60

9 - India
The build up against Pakistan continues but the Indian armies use dated equipment and lack any recent major military engagements. Nuclear probablity helps its rank. 29/60

10 - UK (Britain)
Once a strong proud world power, the UK maintains a simple fighting force keeping the US as a major ally. It has allocated units in a few global hotspots. 27/60

I'm a Russian and have served in the Ground Forces. I did 9 years in the 20th Guard Army in Voronezh, first as a combat engineer of a BTR-80M, then promoted to lead a T-90A, as in I was the tank commander. Actually most foreigners have the wrong idea about our military. You believe that our armed force is made up of all conscripts, but thats not exactly true. True we do have mandatory military service but thats only 12 months. Those who stay longer, like me, are given professional training, while the conscripts only receive basic training. So in reality Russia has a mixed force. The pro's are trained well, and have the capability to project power (fight abroad). But the conscripts are like the second line of defense and are trained only for defense and civil support. As for our army being badly equipped, you should come to one of our bases. True, most of our equipment may be old, but they are all perfectly serviceable. While US weaponry is more about being state-of-art and are sophisticated, our weaponry emphasis is on being rugged and simple and most of all simple. Even then, its just the conscript forces that have Soviet equipment. The professional units all have weaponry designed after the end of the USSR. So please dont talk shit about our army being ill-equipped and ill-trained, because even though the professional servicemen of the GF is only about 420,000 that still twice the size of the whole Brititsh active force. BTW, as a Russian i believe and say that Russia has the more powerful military of the two

Russia has advanced Military Sats just like the USA.Is this going to be a British suprise attack like the ones in WW2 lol.The US would warn the UK of a suprise attack.The USA has radar stations in the UK thats part of Norad lol.So the suprise attack is out of the question lol.The Royal Navy could barely sustain operations in the Falkands and lost ships to an inferior foe lol.Russia has 1 carrier and a huge bomber force with tons of migs.Russia would win the Air War no doubt and bomb the hell out of the UK like the Germans did.However Russia could still invade the UK by land.Russia still has the second largest anfibous force on the planet after the US.Right now the Russian Navy in active gross tons is still #2 in the World.Russia has the industry and the population to take on and win the UK if it really wanted to.However that maybe possible in the future.The US & UK speacial realsonship has expired.All you see on internet sites anymore is fat stupid American this and that coming from the Brits.Do you think Americans would want to die for Britian in 2011 lmfao.I see America having stronger ties with Germany and France the UK no longer offers the USA what it needs.Britian has fell from a pittbull to a lizzard lol.Why would anybody put of with that.To stay up their with the big dogs you have to flex.You can't do a lizzard dance to win the favor of the USA.Oh and your token force in Afgan and Iraq was a discrace and an insult to America.

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