Military

Ranking the top 10 countries of 2019

10. South Korea – $42bn

9. Russia – $46.4bn

8. Japan – $47bn

7. France – $48bn

6. United Kingdom – $49bn

5. Saudi Arabia – $51bn

4. Germany – $53bn

3. India – $60.9bn

2. China – $177bn

1. United States of America – $717bn

10. South Korea – $42bn

South Korea intends to enhance its defence capabilities to counter potential threats from North Korea. Image courtesy of Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

The South Korean defence budget in 2019 increased by 8.2% to $42bn, recording the highest annual rise since 2008. More than 65% of the budget is dedicated to the maintenance of troops and military equipment.

South Korea’s defence spending is mainly focussed on the development and improvement of defence capabilities to counter potential threats from its rival North Korea.

The defence allocations will also support potential acquisition programmes, including airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems, anti-submarine helicopters, attack helicopters, Aegis combat systems, and SM-3 ballistic missile interceptors.

9. Russia – $46.4bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
Russian defence allocations in 2019 will support multiple programmes including Borei-class ballistic missile submarines, Yasen-class attack submarines and SU-57 fighter jets.

Russia allocated RUB2.9t ($46.4bn) to its defence budget, which excludes allocations to the National Guard, the Border Guard Service, and other confidential line items.

The Russian Ministry of Defence plans to upgrade its strategic nuclear assets, submarines and surface vessels, aircraft and helicopters, as well as its aerial capabilities through the induction of new fighters.

The defence allocations will support Russia’s major acquisition programmes, including the Borei-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and Yasen-class attack submarines, SU-57 fighter jets, and modernised TU-160 strategic bombers.

8. Japan – $47bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
Japan allocated a budget of $47bn for defence in 2019. Image courtesy of Tk Ch.

The Japanese Government set aside $47bn for defence in 2019, which enables the nation to enhance its defence capabilities to counter potential threats from the missile systems of North Korea and strategic challenges from China.

Japan is expected to develop capabilities in space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrums, while continuing to procure F-35A fighter jets and modernise F-15 fighter jets to carry new electronic warfare devices.

The budget allocations will also support the construction of a submarine and two destroyers, as well as the procurement of nine airborne early-warning aircraft, SM-3 Block IIA, and SM-3 Block IB missiles for the ballistic missile defence system.

7. France – $48bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
The French defence budget in 2019 accounts for 1.82% of the country’s GDP. Image courtesy of Rob Schleiffert.

France allocated a budget of €35.9bn ($48bn) in 2019 for defence, representing an increase of 4.7% over 2018. The current year’s defence budget accounts for 1.82% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The French defence budget is primarily driven by the modernisation of armed forces, counter-terrorism efforts, and active participation in Nato missions and international peacekeeping operations.

The latest allocation will support the deliveries of bulletproof vests, Griffon armoured vehicles, HK416 assault rifles, NH 90 helicopters, a multi-mission frigate, a patrol boat, a multi-mission building (B2M), Reaper drones, A400M, C130J aircraft, and MRTT aircraft.

6. United Kingdom – $49bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
The UK Government proposed a budget of $49bn for defence in 2019-’20. Crown copyright 2019.

The UK Government plans to allocate $49bn for defence in 2019-’20, which accounts for 2% of its annual GDP. More than 90% of the budget is allocated for defence capability spending, which is driven by procurement programmes and defence infrastructure improvement.

The procurement of submarines, warships, fighter jets, missiles, transport aircraft, and land-based equipment and systems is anticipated to account for a major share of the UK defence budget allocations.

The new budget will support the major procurements programmes including the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, Astute-class submarines, F-35 fighter aircraft, and Ajax (Scout SV) armoured vehicles.

5. Saudi Arabia – $51bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
Saudi Arabia witnessed a decline in its defence allocations due to unstable global oil and gas prices. Image courtesy of Sgt. Harley Jelis, N.Y. Army National Guard.

Volatility in global oil and gas prices has forced Saudi Arabia to cut its defence allocations by 9% year-over-year in 2019.

The latest budget supports the nation to strengthen its defence capabilities through the acquisition of fighter aircraft, medium-lift utility helicopters, attack helicopters, fighter jets, armoured vehicles, joint standoff weapons, and missiles.

Saudi Arabia also intends to modernise anti-ballistic interception capabilities in response to the development of long-range ballistic missiles by Iran.

4. Germany – $53bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
Germany plans to procure military transport aircraft, helicopters, multiple launch rocket systems and UAVs. Image courtesy of Markus Rauchenberger, U.S. Army.

Germany allocated a budget of €47.32bn ($53bn) in 2019 for defence, recording the biggest increase since the end of the Cold War. The nation, however, failed to meet Nato’s target of spending at least 2% GDP on defence.

The increase in defence spending will support the acquisition of new and modernised equipment as the German military currently suffers from the lack of heavy equipment such as tanks, aircraft, and submarines.

The majority of the funding is allocated for the procurement of military transport aircraft, helicopters, multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), and UAVs.

3. India – $60.9bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
The Indian defence allocations are mainly driven by anti-terrorism measures and territorial tensions with Pakistan and China.

The Indian defence budget witnessed a year-on-year increase of 8% in 2019, driven by anti-terrorism measures and territorial tensions with Pakistan and China.

The capital and revenue expenditure allocations account for 34% and 66% of the total defence budget, respectively. The Indian Army has a 56% share in the latest defence allocation, followed by the Air Force (23%), Navy (15%), and DRDO (6%).

The latest budget allocations will allow the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to procure fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles, warships, submarines, main battle tanks (MBTs), and UAVs.

2. China – $177bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
China allocated a budget of $177bn in 2019 for defence. Image courtesy of the US Department of Defense.

Territorial disputes with neighbouring countries and arms race with the US continue to propel the growth of the Chinese military budget in 2019.

The latest defence allocations will allow the Red Dragon to enhance its military capabilities through modernisation programmes and induction of indigenously built stealth fighters, aircraft carriers, and anti-satellite missiles.

Major defence programmes, including Shenyang J-31 and Chengdu J-20 fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, transport aircraft, multi-mission helicopters and naval vessels are expected to receive larger allocations.

1. United States of America – $717bn

The world’s biggest defence budgets in 2019
The US defence budget in 2019 prioritises the military modernisation efforts. Image courtesy of Sgt. Jose A. Torres Jr., U.S. Army.

The US defence budget in 2019 has been increased by 4.9% as the government continues its efforts to modernise capabilities in the air, maritime and land domains.

The US has embarked upon military modernisation to maintain its position as the world’s military superpower. Allocations have been made to support the undertaking of nuclear defence and missile defence programmes.

The majority of the funding is allocated to procurement programmes such as M1 Abrams tanks, ballistic missile defence systems, F-35 fighters, AH-64E Apache and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, joint light tactical vehicles (JLTV), and advanced extremely high-frequency (AEHF) systems.

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