Warsaw, Poland – Poland and the Czech Republic rank as the European Union’s 6th and 8th strongest military powers in the latest 2019 Military Strength Ranking index by Global Firepower. Hungary and Slovakia are respectively 14th and 16th.
Standard European powerhouses France, the United Kingdom and Germany take the first three slots as the strongest military powers in the EU. Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden and the Netherlands complete the top 10.
For the 2019 ranking of EU members’ military might, only 25 countries were included with Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta not meeting the required conditions and minimums.
Poland, a major participant in NATO since 1999
With a PowerIndex rating of 0.4059 (0.0000 being perfect), Poland has Central Europe’s strongest military, according to Global Firepower. It ranks 6th in the EU and 24th globally. “A member of the Soviet-aligned Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, modern-day Poland has been a major participant in NATO since 1999,” states the website.
Global Firepower states that Poland has 105,000 active personnel in all branches of the armed forces, 469 aircraft, 1,100 combat tanks, and 83 naval assets, which include “all possible and available vessels including auxiliaries”.
It also evaluates Poland’s defense budget at $9.4 billion.
Czech Republic, a massively increased spending budget
Coming in 8th, and 30th globally, the Czech Republic has a PowerIndex rating of 0.5119. According to Global Firepower, the country is “eyeing a great deal with its massively increased spending budget” with armoured vehicles, artillery, helicopters and air defense “headlining the initiative”.
Global Firepower lists that the country has 25,000 active personnel, 100 aircraft, 116 combat tanks, and a defense budget evaluated at $2.6 billion.
Hungary and Slovakia have respective PowerIndex ratings of 0.7657 and 0.8181. They rank 14th and 16th in the EU and 55th and 60th globally. If Hungary only has 25,000 estimated active military personnel, the country has a further 45,000 people in reserve which could bring up its military force to 70,000. One of the smallest military force in the EU, Slovakia has only 16,000 active military personnel.
Global Firepower evaluates Hungary and Slovakia’s respective defense budgets at $1 billion each. Nevertheless, Slovakia recently announced that it had awarded an almost $800 million contract to Lockheed Martin to produce and support F-16 fighter jets and replace the country’s ageing Russian MiG-29 fighter jets.
It is said to be Slovakia’s biggest-ever military purchase.