Global Firepower
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North Korea Military Strength

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 4/1/2015

The secretive nation of North Korea continues to pour money into its war machine while testing its southern neighbor when possible.


The values showcased below are all considered for the final GFP ranking recognized as the "Power Index" (abbrv: "PwrIndx"). PwrIndx scores are judged on a perfect value of "0.0000" which is realistically unattainable due to the number of factors considered per country. Bonuses and penalties are added to each nation (as needed) while landlocked countries (ex: Austria) are not penalized for lack of a standing navy though they do suffer penalties for not maintaining a useful merchant marine force.

A total of 126 countries make up the GFP ranked list.

North Korea
PwrIndx: 1.0232

Going beyond military equipment totals and perceived fighting strength is the actual manpower that drives a given military. Wars of attrition favor those with more.

 Total Population: 24,851,627
 Available Manpower: 12,933,972
 Fit for Service: 10,066,704
 Reaching Military Age Annually: 412,290]
 Active Frontline Personnel: 690,000
 Active Reserve Personnel: 4,500,000

Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks, light tanks and tank destroyers, either wheeled or tracked. AFV value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

 Tanks: 4,200
 Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 4,100
 Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs): 2,250
 Towed-Artillery: 4,300
 Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 2,400

Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service.

 Total Aircraft: 940
 Fighters/Interceptors: 458
 Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 516
 Transport Aircraft: 99
 Trainer Aircraft: 165
 Helicopters: 202
 Attack Helicopters: 20

Aircraft Carrier value includes dedicated "helicopter carrier" vessels. Total naval strength includes all known auxiliaries as well.

 Total Naval Strength: 1,061
 Aircraft Carriers: 0
 Frigates: 4
 Destroyers: 0
 Corvettes: 2
 Submarines: 70
 Coastal Defense Craft: 375
 Mine Warfare: 23

Despite the advances made in battlefield technology, oil remains the lifeblood of any fighting force as well as local economy.

 Oil Production: 120 bbl/day
 Oil Consumption: 15,000 bbl/day]
 Proven Oil Reserves: 0 bbl/day

War is as much a battle of logistics - moving man and machine from points all over - as it is direct combat. Labor Force reflects possible wartime industry strength.

 Labor Force: 12,600,000
 Merchant Marine Strength: 158]
 Major Ports and Terminals: 8
 Roadway Coverage: 25,554
 Railway Coverage: 5,242
 Serviceable Airports: 82

Regardless of military strength in numbers, war is still driven by financing as much as any one leader or weapon.

 Defense Budget: $7,500,000,000
 External Debt: $3,000,000,000
 Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold: $6,000,000,000
 Purchasing Power Parity: $40,000,000,000

 GEOGRAPHY (in km)
Geographical values primarily figure into a defensive-minded war (i.e. invasion).

 Square Land Area: 120,538 km
 Coastline: 2,495 km
 Shared Border: 1,607 km
 Waterways: 2,250 km

Partial Sources:, CIA World Factbook,, public domain print and media sources and user contributions. Some values may be estimated when official sources are lacking.

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