Global Firepower
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South Korea Military Strength - Score: (0.3098)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/13/2015

Sharing a border with its unpredictable northern neighbor has forced South Korea to manage a large, modern fighting force as a precaution.


The values showcased below are all considered for the final GFP ranking recognized as the "Power Index" (abbrv: "PwrIndx"). PwrIndx scores are judged against a perfect value of "0.0000" which is realistically unattainable due to the number of factors considered per country. Balance is the key - a large, strong fighting force across land, sea and air backed by a resilient economy and defensible territory along with an efficient infrastructure - such qualities are those used to round out a particular nation's total fighting strength on paper; it is not enough to field 10 million men or 20,000 tanks or lead the world in oil production.

Each nation's final ranking also carries with it bonuses and penalties as needed while landlocked countries (ex: Austria) are not penalized for lack of a standing navy - though they do suffer a penalty for not maintaining a viable merchant marine force.

It bears repeating that nuclear weapons are NOT taken into account for this listing. Powers are based on conventional weaponry in inventory as well as other factors such as economic strength, border size, self-sustainability (in regards to wartime resources such as oil), water access etc...

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

South Korea
PwrIndx: 0.3098

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: 49,039,986
 Available Manpower: 25,609,290
 Fit for Service: 21,033,275
 Reaching Military Age Annually: 686,985
 Active Frontline Personnel: 624,465
 Active Reserve Personnel: 2,900,000

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: 2,381
 Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 2,660
 Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs): 1,990
 Towed-Artillery: 5,374
 Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 214

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

 Total Aircraft: 1,412
 Fighters/Interceptors: 399
 Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 399
 Transport Aircraft: 342
 Trainer Aircraft: 277
 Helicopters: 668
 Attack Helicopters: 77

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

 Total Naval Strength: 166
 Aircraft Carriers: 0
 Frigates: 11
 Destroyers: 12
 Corvettes: 19
 Submarines: 13
 Coastal Defense Craft: 81
 Mine Warfare: 10

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

 Oil Production: 48,200 bbl/day
 Oil Consumption: 2,300,000 bbl/day]
 Proven Oil Reserves: 6,000,000 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: 25,860,000
 Merchant Marine Strength: 786]
 Major Ports and Terminals: 8
 Roadway Coverage: 103,029
 Railway Coverage: 3,381
 Serviceable Airports: 111

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

 Defense Budget: $33,100,000,000
 External Debt: $430,900,000,000
 Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold: $341,800,000,000
 Purchasing Power Parity: $1,666,000,000,000

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

 Square Land Area: 99,720 km
 Coastline: 2,413 km
 Shared Border: 237 km
 Waterways: 1,600 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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