Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2017 Military Strength Ranking.

New, 2017, Global Military Strength Ranking has been published. You can read original here. Those who read this blog for some time know well that generally I treat all those rankings with a great deal of irony, if not outright sarcasm--most of all those ranking fail in the most important "metric" which is, of course, what for this military power. Without answering this question all those rankings are just the waste of time and energy. In the end, real professional considerations have been formulated not for once, including often quoted by me Admiral Stanfield Turner in his 1976 interview Who Has The Best Navy to CSM. But the deal is done and we may as well pay attention to such a ranking and I have an issue with the fact that Egypt's military power somehow ended sandwiched between Italy and Germany. As the Global Fire Power reports, Egypt has two aircraft carriers and for that, as site accountants profess, Egypt should get bonus points. Well, it is all fine and dandy except for one thing--Egypt doesn't have aircraft carriers. What Egypt has, and what passes there as "carriers", are two, thankfully never sold to Russia, glorified ferries of the Mistral-class which are anything but classic aircraft carriers in normal meaning of this word and are nothing more than Amphibious Assault Ships good only for disembarking some sort of a marines' force, granted, in case of Egyptian Mistrals, supported by very capable attack helicopters KA-52.  Moreover, even a brief overview of the Egyptian Navy shows that its submarine forces are 80% (4 out of 5 subs) consist of very good German submarines of  Type 209/1400, while surface fleet is, with the exception of a single French-built FREMM frigate and 4 Gowind-class corvettes, is of old and obsolete Western (mostly US Navy's second-hand) types. Now, even the brief look at Germany's Navy reveals that it is much newer in terms of ships than that of the Egypt. It also operates 6 state-of-the-art Type 212 subs which, considering a very good level of German submariners, can... well, let's put it this way, will have no problems sinking those two Egypt's "aircraft carriers". Italy's Navy, meanwhile, has two genuine STOVL carriers which, unlike Mistrals, carry actual fixed wing aircraft. But in general, I would not rate nations which do not manufacture own weapon systems very high in such ratings. Both Germany and Italy they do produce many of those indigenous domestic and in cooperation weapon systems. This is absolutely not the case with Egypt which is almost entirely dependent on external supply of weapons.  

 So yes, I do have issues with such rankings, or, rather, criteria. But then again, I use this enclosed technological cycle argument non-stop. In other words, do not put too much faith in such rankings, indexes, what have you--they do not reflect most important metric which is the ability to conduct complex and sustained operations. Of course those operations must rest on a solid real economy base and in this sense Global Fire Power does much better job than very many other indexes but still, as I wrote in a whole series of my posts on Military Power, much more goes into it than mere material things, however important they are. In general, presence of any Arab military near the top of such lists (rankings) is always questionable. After all, Saudis have military budget in absolute dollar amount only $6 billion less than military budget of Russia, Saudis also have a lot of expensive military toys but nobody in their own mind will compare militarily (or firepower-wise) Russia and Saudi Arabia. But, of course, 35th place of Ukraine, which, in accordance to its President, has the strongest Army in Europe. After all, it has to be--to fight for three plus years those damn Russkies and not allow them to capture Kiev--one has to be really good. So, sure, and I am, meanwhile, Elvis Presley.


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