Kenya Defence Forces ranked 46th strongest military in the world


The Kenya Defence Forces is considered as one of the strongest militaries in the world. According to the Global Firepower Military, Kenya is ranked 46th in the world and 6th in Africa.

The top five military powers according to the website are United States, Russia, China, India and the United Kingdom

The Kenyan military receives most of its supplies from the US due to its strategic location in Africa and it has a budget of $800 million. The Kenyan military has 186 tanks, 12 rocket projectors, 148 aircraft and 78 helicopters.

Seven African countries made the list. Global Firepower did not include Uganda on the list, but that nation’s army has played a key role in African peacekeeping forces, and is said to have one of the well-trained armies on the continent.

We take a closer look at the seven countries and why they are considered the largest military powers in Africa.


Egypt is the first African country to make the list in 14th place. The Egyptian military has four main service branches: the army, navy, air force and air defense command. According to Global Firepower Egypt has more than 800 military aircraft and 200 helicopters. The Egyptian navy also reportedly has two Corvettes and four submarines in addition to various other vessels. One of the reasons Egypt ranks so highly is due to the support from international allies – in many instances this support takes the form of equipment. The US provides Egypt with military assistance annually in order to promote stability on the continent; they reportedly provided $1.39 billion in 2013. Egypt has in turn provided support to their allies on the continent, helping to train their armed forces; however Egypt’s main military focus has been on the Middle East, rather than Africa. According to reports the Egyptian military also controls large portions of the economy, the number has been put as high as 40%.


Ethiopia’s military is made up of an army and an air force, the nation has the second strongest military on the African continent as a result of both their large population and their long independence from colonisation. Earlier this year it was reported that the Ethiopian military had developed their first drone (unmanned aerial vehicle); a military technology most often associated with the United States. The country’s active involvement in international peacekeeping efforts in various conflicts all over the continent has also honed their defense force. As of 2012 Ethiopia reportedly had around 150 000 personnel in their ground forces and a further 3000 air force personnel. Global Firepower reports that they have just over 300 tanks, 147 aircraft and 68 helicopters.

South Africa

The South African National Defence Force is comprised of the South African army, navy and air force, as well as a military health service. According to Global Firepower the country’s arsenal includes 250 tanks, 240 rocket projectors, 235 aircraft and three submarines. While South Africa has one of the smaller armies on this list in terms of personnel, they are considered the most advanced military in terms of technology. Before the end of Apartheid South Africa had developed nuclear weapons, and despite destroying them, there is still a weapons development industry in SA. The country is now starting to take a more active role in international peacekeeping efforts on the continent, but the recent tragedy in Central African Republic has shone a spotlight on the weaknesses of the the SA armed forces.


The Nigerian Armed Forces are made up of close to 500 000 personnel, split between the army, navy and air force. They are very active in combined peacekeeping efforts on the continent. According to Global Firepower Nigeria has 363 tanks, 294 aircraft and 84 helicopters. The Nigerian army in particular has been active internally, primarily in the north of the country. The army has been criticised for their heavy-handed manner in dealing with civilians in their conflict with Boko Haram. The Nigerian navy also has four corvettes. The strength of the armed forces has been a result of the contentious nature of Nigerian politics since independence. There were 10 military coups in Nigeria between 1966 and 1999 and there was also a civil war between 1967 and 1970. The budget is $3.7 billion.


The Algerian military is known as the People’s National Army. The force is both large, with more than 120 000 active personnel, and well equipped. They are supplied mainly by Russia and China. The military is comprised of an army, navy and air force. Algeria’s military has an impressive tally of 1050 tanks according to Global Firepower. They also reportedly have 148 rocket projectors, 409 aircraft, 136 helicopters, three Corvettes and three submarines. The Algerian army is believed to be very involved in domestic politics; this may be as a result of there being nothing much for them to do as they have not been involved in any international conflicts since 1976. Earlier this year in January, Algerian troops were involved in a botched operation to free hostages held at the Sahara gas plant. While 32 of the hostage takers were reportedly killed the death toll of hostages was higher, with some reports stating 48 were killed.


Kenya Defence Forces, as the East African nation’s military is known, is comprised of an army, navy and air force. With only 24 120 active personnel it is one of the smaller forces on the continent; however the nation’s strategic location means the Kenyan military has been highly active since its inception. It is supplied by the US, and has a budget of around $800 million. According to Global Firepower, Kenya has 186 tanks, 12 rocket projectors, 148 aircraft and 78 helicopters. Kenya’s military has been involved in several UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and Europe. They have also worked closely with Somalia’s military in order to take on Al-Shabaab and have joined The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to further aide their cause.


Historically Libya had one of the largest military forces on the continent, but following the Libyan revolution in 2011 the previous army was disbanded and the Libyan National Army was created. The Libyan military currently has between 35 000 and 40 000 personnel. Their equipment arsenal remains impressive as they inherited the equipment from the former army the Armed Forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The current force is made up of ground forces, an air force and a navy. According to Global Firepower they have 500 tanks, 800 rocket projectors, 621 aircraft, a frigate and a Corvette.

    • crizel

      we have drones which were acquired from israel during the linda inchi ops but the government doesnt want it to be in the public limelight same to russian kamov 50 attack helicopters which are based in the 50th calvary base in embakasi

    • John Lubisia wafula


      • crizel

        big boys and they use gumboots rather than conventional army boots

      • Isingoma Ihalha

        That’s an accident brother Ireri

  • Toto

    Yea, Drones since our IT is growing at commendable rate. Laptop for Class 1. Big up KDF

  • martin

    keep up kdf am planning to join after my doctorate studies

  • Vitalis Oyoo-Onyango

    I do not buy the idea that Kenya is Africa’s sixth strongest military.Where are you ranking oil-rich Angola and Tanzania? How I wish it was true! Look again at the Libyan arsenal and compare it with Kenya’s.Isn’t somebody not making our country a laughing stock in terms of ranking?

    • Frankyzilla

      Do you think the guys at Global Firepower are like CORD tribalists? Have you looked at Tanzania’s military budget for instance? Do you think the ranking is based only on raw numbers? Technology, quality of training and equipment are also important factors. What kind of training and technology does Angola have for instance? Just because you have oil doesn’t necessarily mean you get to have the best military.

      • vitalis oyoo onyango

        You Jubileean, fraudsters-general,look at the military arsenal that Angola possess and its GDP and Per Capital Income and you will be fucked proper! You may steal in the Kenyan election but not here!

      • VitalisOyooOnyango

        I see, you are really a creation of Jubilee thieves! Look at the latest world ranking before you open up your big mouth again! Besides, read the much that Angola is spending in terms of military purchase then compare with our beloved mother Kenya. Fellow Kenyan, don’t you have anything to say on Libya! Global Firepower is not my Bible. Had you not been so corrupt, with at least two major corruption scandals every year, we could comfortably be patched somewhere respectful, but alas!

        • Frankyzilla

          What a low life. You wait 2 years for a ranking to change before you open up your foul mouth? Hey how come even after 2 years since my comment you couldn’t answer some simple questions and then resort to your tribalist CORD talking points?

          • VitalisOyooOnyango

            You must have been very poor in history. Can’t you see you commented on my article 365 days after I had posted it? Kweli, nyani haoni ghubaye. You are just but a sorry person to argue with!

    • Are you from Ethiopia? I also hated Kenya, but began to love it because of the development Uhuru Kenyatta has brought. I know Kenya cannot beat Ethiopia after they recently took photographs in Turkana.

  • ian kariuki

    12 roket projectors is insanly low

  • vitalis oyoo onyango

    We may be excused for hiding known facts, its our tradition anyway. The number of Kenya military personnel has remained about 25,000 since the days of Jomo Kenyatta!

  • Makaranga P

    What I see here, you are just fooling yourself! For a narrow minded person like you can rank Uganda and Kenya above of Tanzania.But to be honestly, Tanzania has the strongest Military in all spheres and you can’t try it.

  • kdf has more weapons which are kept 4 back up i consider it as AFRICA SUPER POWER is displey itself in somalia war against al -shabab ..i love kdf

  • Jerry

    Uganda is still the best in the region y am I saying this UPDF is everywhere in Africa maintaining peace Somalia ,central repabulic of Africa,southsudan DR Congo there were sent in west Africa and official duties in BULUNDI during the unrest of bulundian .the amry commanders a good compared to others in eastafrica even the commanders of Rwandan armies a good than that of Kenya yes Kenya is well equipped but luck the experience their just in theories

  • proud to be kenyan. We can be the best…Yes we can.

  • kuria

    putting into consideration the amount of tax Kenyans pay,kdf should be in top 30.

  • Tevin Lugther

    KDF has been in mind and the dream of becoming a soidier is inside me. KDF is so strong we kenyans are ahead than we imagine. Salute to the Kenyan commanders n the president

  • Tevinlugther254

    Kdf is succeeding in terms of dominating the militants groups. May this country prevail. I wish Allah could give me a chance to fight for this country. Childhood idea being a soidier one day