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Submarines by Country

Submarines by Country
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Navigating The Depths: Submarines By Country

Submarines—stealthy vessels capable of navigating both the placid and tempestuous waters of our world's oceans—play pivotal roles in various aspects of modern society. From archaeological exploration and marine science to critical military missions, they serve an array of purposes. The military role of submarines, however, is of paramount importance, as they constitute an integral part of many countries' naval defenses, functioning as deterrents, protectors, and attack units. Recognizing the strategic importance of these silent predators of the deep, nations invest considerably in their submarine fleets, which vary widely in number and operational capacities.

Global Fire Power provides an annual update of the number of naval submarines by country. For the purpose of this dataset, landlocked countries or those without standing navies are not considered. It's also important to note that the data constitutes a cumulative count, regardless of each submarine's type, size, age, military function, and construction quality. 

Key Findings:

  • China leads the count with 78 submarines, followed by Russia at 70 and the United States at 68. Notably, these countries are already recognized as global superpowers, highlighting the correlation between an extensive submarine fleet and global military dominance. 
  • Interestingly, North Korea, a small but militarily assertive country, ranks fourth with 35 submarines—however most of these models are considers outdated by modern standards.
  • European nations showcase a more balanced distribution, with countries like Greece and Turkey possessing 12 and 11 submarines respectively, while larger powers such as the United Kingdom and France hold 10 and 9 respectively.
  • In terms of the Asia-Pacific region, apart from China, nations like South Korea, Japan, and India show a strong naval presence with significant submarine fleets.
  • Remarkably, South American nations maintain a notable number of submarines, illustrating the strategic importance attached to sub-surface naval capability in the region.

Countries with the Most Submarines

Heading the list is China, boasting an impressive submarine count of 78 vessels. This development is in line with China's rise as a formidable global power and its drive to significantly enhance its naval defenses. 

Coming in a close second is Russia, a country recognized for its advanced military capability. Russia is home to 70 submarines that form part of its formidable naval fleet. Notwithstanding its vast surface area and extensive coastlines, Russia's commitment towards maintaining a robust submarine fleet underscores the strategic importance it places on its undersea capabilities.

Echoing its status as a global superpower, the United States ranks third with a total of 68 submarines. Each of these silent water warriors plays a key role in strategic defense, stealth operations, and maintaining the delicate balance of power in the world's oceans.

Despite its relatively smaller size, North Korea stakes a shocking fourth position with a submarine count of 35. South Korea, ranks fifth with 22 submarines, reflecting the country's commitment to maintaining a formidable defense architecture against North Korea..

Japan and Iran own 21 and 19 submarines respectively. India, one of the significant powers in the Asia-Pacific region, has 18 submarines.

Completing the top 10 are Turkey and Greece, both situated in strategically significant locations, wielding submarine fleets of 12 and 11 vessels respectively.

10 Countries with the Most Submarines:

  1. China – 78
  2. Russia -  70
  3. United States - 68
  4. North Korea - 35
  5. South Korea - 22
  6. Japan - 21
  7. Iran - 19
  8. India - 18
  9. Turkey - 12
  10. Greece - 11

By Country

Full Data Set

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Methodology