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04 Apr 2024

Nato v Russia: How their armed forces would stack up in the event of a global conflict

Nato v Russia: How their armed forces would stack up in the event of a global conflict
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Russia is the second largest military force in the world - but in the face of Nato’s power in terms of personnel, weapons and vehicles, the Russian armed forces would find themselves greatly outnumbered on the battlefield.

According to figures from the Ministry of Defence, released on the same day that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation turned 75 years old, Russia would be outmatched by the number of military personnel, vehicles and air power.

With heavy losses still occurring in Ukraine, the disparity between Russia and Nato will likely widen.


Nato would have 3.2 million military personnel in the event of a global conflict, while Russia would only have 1.2 million, according to MOD.

With the combined forces of the 32 member states, the Russian army would be outnumbered by two million personnel.

It is also thought to have suffered over 300,000 casualties since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.  

The largest Nato contributor in terms of military personnel would be the United States, which can provide 1,403,200 US Army personnel.


Land vehicles

In the event of war with Russia, Nato would be able to deploy four times as many tanks onto the battlefield as its enemy.

It is also believed that Russia is currently losing hundreds of tanks in Ukraine, with 300 losses estimated since October 2023. It is also thought to have lost 1,000 armoured vehicles during the same period.

Western-made vehicles such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Leopard 2 main battle tank have already been donated to Ukraine in the fight against Russia.

On the other hand, Russia is still deploying Soviet-era vehicles such as the BMP-1 and the 2S1 Gvozdika howitzer.

Sea power 

Most notably in the sea, Nato has 16 aircraft carriers to Russia's one.

Nato outnumbers Russia at a rate of four-and-a-half times for warships. Nato also has triple the number of submarines.

Russia is currently suffering heavy losses in the Black Sea as Ukrainian drone attacks have damaged or destroyed a significant number of warships, including the Caesar Kunikov, an amphibious assault vessel, and the missile corvette Ivanovets.

Air power

In the air, Nato has four times as many military helicopters and eight times as many transport aircraft compared with Russia.

Significantly, it has triple the amount of fighter jets that Russia has.

Furthermore, Russia is thought to be losing aircraft 20 times faster than they can be replaced during the war in Ukraine. 


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