Forget Those F-35s: Could Iran Crush Israel in a War?

Michael Peck

Key Point: Israeli media is abuzz over a website that ranks the world’s armies—and placed Iran above Israel.

Iran’s armed forces ranked thirteenth in the world, according to’s 2018 rankings, which apparently combined various statistics to assemble a composite military power rating (0.3131 for Iran, with 0.00 being a perfect score).

Israel ranked sixteenth, with a military power rating of 0.3444. By comparison, the United States ranks Number One, followed by Russia, China, India, France and Britain.

Curiously, Egypt is in twelfth place, ahead of Iran and Israel. Indonesia is fifteenth, ahead of Israel. On the other hand, Israel is ahead of Pakistan (seventeenth place), North Korea (eighteenth place), and Sweden (thirty-first place). Dead last, in 136th place, was Bhutan. The website says it is in the midst of compiling the 2019 military power rankings.

“It was the third year in a row that Israel fell in the site’s ranking, falling one spot from the previous year and down five spots when it ranked 11th in 2016,” noted the Jerusalem Post. “Iran, meanwhile, climbed to 13th in 2018 from 20th in 2017.”

How exactly does GlobalFirepower calculate these scores?

“The finalized Global Firepower ranking utilizes over 55 individual factors to determine a given nation's PowerIndex ('PwrIndx') score,” says the website. “The unique, in-house formula allows for smaller, more technologically-advanced, nations to compete with larger, though lesser-developed, ones. Modifiers (in the form of bonuses and penalties) are applied to further refine the list. A perfect PwrIndex score is 0.0000 which is realistically unattainable in the scope of the GFP formula.”

The website further explains that the scores are adjusted by a variety of modifiers. For example, “ranking does not rely solely on total number of weapons available to any one country but rather focuses on weapon diversity.”

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