What are the Best 10 Armed Forces in Africa?

man lying forward using rifle at the field during day

Africa is often synonymous with conflict and war. According to the Geneva Academy, there are currently over 35 armed conflicts in Africa in 2023. These devastating wars do not get a lot of attention like the war in Ukraine, or the current conflict in the Middle East, but they are taking tolls on millions of Africans. These sad facts got us wondering which African countries have the biggest and best-armed forces.

four soldiers carrying rifles near helicopter under blue sky
Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com
  1. Egyptian Armed Forces: (*Egypt receives $1Billion in military aid from the US)
    • Active Troops: With approximately 450,000 active personnel, the Egyptian Armed Forces has the most active personnel on the continent.
    • Weapon Systems: Egypt’s military arsenal includes a mix of modern and indigenous weapon systems, ranging from advanced fighter jets like the F-16 to sophisticated missile defense systems.
    • Tanks: The Egyptian Army has a big tank force, with the M1 Abrams and the locally produced Ramses II main battle tanks leading the way.
  2. South African National Defence Force (SANDF):
    • Active Troops: With around 81,000 active personnel, the SANDF emphasizes quality and modernization in its military force.
    • Weapon Systems: SANDF is equipped with a diverse array of weapon systems, including the Gripen fighter jet and the Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system.
    • Tanks: The SANDF relies on the Olifant and Rooikat tanks, showcasing a blend of indigenous designs and upgraded platforms.
  3. Nigerian Armed Forces:
    • Active Troops: The Nigerian Armed Forces have a substantial standing force of approximately 200,000 active personnel.
    • Weapon Systems: Nigeria’s military arsenal features a mix of imported and domestically produced weapons, including Alpha jets for air support and the Otokar Cobra armored vehicle for ground operations.
    • Tanks: The Nigerian Army operates T-72 and Vickers main battle tanks, contributing to their armored capabilities.
  4. Algerian People’s National Armed Forces:
    • Active Troops: Boasting around 130,000 active personnel, the Algerian Armed Forces prioritize a well-equipped and modern military force.
    • Weapon Systems: Algeria invests in modern weapon systems like the Su-30MKA fighter jets and the S-300 air defense system, enhancing their overall military capabilities.
    • Tanks: The Algerian Armed Forces deploy the T-90 and the domestically produced TR-85 main battle tanks.
  5. Ethiopian National Defense Force:
    • Active Troops: With an active force of approximately 190,000 personnel, the Ethiopian National Defense Force maintains a significant standing presence.
    • Weapon Systems: Ethiopia’s military strength is complemented by Su-27 and MiG-23 fighter jets, as well as various missile defense systems.
    • Tanks: The Ethiopian Army relies on T-72 and T-55 main battle tanks, showcasing a mix of Soviet-era and more modern platforms.
  6. Kenya Defence Forces:
    • Weapon Systems: Kenya’s arsenal includes Fennec attack helicopters and the RBS 70 air defense system, highlighting their commitment to air superiority.
    • Tanks: The Kenyan Army operates the upgraded Vickers Mk. 3 main battle tanks for ground operations.
    • Active Troops: With around 24,000 active personnel, the Kenya Defence Forces prioritize a modern and versatile military.
  7. Moroccan Armed Forces:
    • Weapon Systems: Morocco employs modern F-16 fighter jets and the Hawk missile system, enhancing their air defense capabilities.
    • Tanks: The Royal Moroccan Army relies on a mix of AMX-30 and Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks for ground operations.
    • Active Troops: Boasting around 195,000 active personnel, the Moroccan Armed Forces emphasize a well-rounded and capable military presence.
  8. Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF):
    • Weapon Systems: The UPDF utilizes Su-30MK2 fighter jets and the Igla-S MANPADS for air defense, contributing to their overall military capabilities.
    • Tanks: Uganda operates the T-90 and the locally upgraded Type 59 main battle tanks.
    • Active Troops: With approximately 45,000 active personnel, the UPDF focuses on modernization and regional stability.
  9. Angolan Armed Forces:
    • Weapon Systems: Angola’s military strength includes MiG-23 and Su-22 fighter jets, showcasing a mix of Soviet-era and more modern aircraft.
    • Tanks: The Angolan Armed Forces operate T-72 and T-54/55 main battle tanks, emphasizing a blend of older and more modern platforms.
    • Active Troops: With around 110,000 active personnel, the Angolan Armed Forces prioritize internal stability and modernization.
  10. Sudanese Armed Forces:
    • Weapon Systems: Sudan’s military arsenal includes Chinese-made J-7 fighter jets and the HQ-2 surface-to-air missile system, contributing to their air defense capabilities.
    • Tanks: The Sudanese Army relies on the T-72 and the locally produced Al-Zubair main battle tanks.
    • Active Troops: With approximately 105,000 active personnel, the Sudanese Armed Forces focus on addressing internal and regional security challenges.
war museum perspective army
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Honorable Mention: Rwandan Defence Force (RDF):

  • Weapon Systems: Rwanda employs the upgraded Mi-24 attack helicopters and the Igla-S MANPADS, showcasing its commitment to modernization.
  • Tanks: The RDF operates the upgraded T-72 and the locally produced Agaciro main battle tanks, reflecting a focus on both modern and indigenous platforms.
  • Active Troops: With around 40,000 active personnel, the RDF emphasizes a modern and efficient military force.

Armed conflict and war are not desirable circumstances. They cause death and destruction and civilians are the ones who will mostly suffer. Even so, every nation has a duty to protect its citizens therefore having well-trained and supplied armed forces is necessary.

Roman Kingsley

Journalist based in the United States and Nigeria, focusing on Real Estate Development and the stories emerging in and around the built environment.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply