World Navies of 2021

HMS Spey, the latest addition to the Royal Navy. While often underappreciated, offshore patrol vessels like her are critical to projecting naval power at home and around the world.
HMS Spey, the latest addition to the Royal Navy. While often underappreciated, offeshore patrol vessels like her are critical to projecting naval power at home and around the world.

World Navies in the New Year

For a much-delayed first post of the new year, we have the official Influence of History 2021 World Navy Rankings. As always, this ranking system attempts to provide an overview of the relative naval power of the world's nations by listing their naval inventories and providing a somewhat relative points value. Because of the contentious nature of warship classification, I have resorted to my own fairly simplistic, but universal, system that classifies ships based on size and type. Points are determined based on the number and type of ships. While my system does attempt to capture total national naval power by including coast guard ships and other government vessels, it does not count coastal craft outside of missile boats and minesweepers.

The points system has remained fairly consistent over the years, but there are small changes each year, which means it cannot be used to compare navies from year to year with great accuracy. For instance, this year I have included minisubs for the first time, which significantly boosted the rankings of Iran and the DPRK even though neither nation has seen a noticeable increase in naval strength.

A Shifting Balance of Power?

While many new ships were commissioned and old ships decommissioned since my 2020 Rankings, there have been few noticeable changes in the naval balance of power. The only position switch between the major naval powers was the United Kingdom overtaking the Republic of Korea for sixth place, thanks to the recent commission of the fourth Astute-class submarine and a trio of River-class OPVs into the ranks of the Royal Navy. However, there is still not a single European navy occupying any of the top five places and this new ranking may prove transient.

While it still trails far behind the United States, the Peoples Republic of China has also continued to grow its naval forces. Over the past year, it has added a number of extremely capable Type 055 and Type 052D missile destroyers to the Peoples Liberation Army Navy as well as an impressive quantity of Type 056 and Type 056A corvettes. With these new ships replacing much smaller and less capable vessels, China's reach continues to grow. However, the Chinese auxiliary and submarine fleets have remained largely static and their relatively small size remains an impediment to truly global reach.

The 2021 Rankings are noteworthy as being the first time that I have removed a nation from the list. Montenegro retired its two Kotor-class frigates, leaving the small coastal nation with nothing more than a collection of gunboats. As none of these vessels are worth any points in my system, this meant that Montenegro was removed from the list. Technically this happened in late 2019 and should have been reflected in my previous 2020 rankings, but news of the Montenegrin Navy doesn't travel quickly.

2021 World Navies Rankings:

1. United States - 916 points
11 carriers, 9 assault carriers

14 ballistic missile submarines, 56 nuclear submarines
92 air defense combatants, 30 combatants, 14 small combatants
28 landing platforms, 105 auxiliaries, 
8 mine hunters

2. China - 545 points
2 light carriers

7 ballistic missile submarines, 9 nuclear submarines, 56 submarines
62 air defense combatants, 45 combatants, 73 small combatants, 
79 missile boats
8 landing platforms, 30 landing ships, 74 auxiliaries
, 37 mine hunters

3. Russia - 393 points
1 light carrier

12 ballistic missile submarines , 26 nuclear submarines, 22 submarines, 2 minisubs
20 air defense combatants, 19 combatants, 20 small combatants, 
37 missile boats
21 landing ships, 53 auxiliaries
, 43 mine hunters

4. Japan - 201 points
4 helicopter carriers

22 submarines
29 air defense combatants, 39 combatants, 45 small combatants, 
6 missile boats
3 landing platforms, 14 auxiliaries
, 24 mine hunters

5. India - 145 points
1 light carrier

1 ballistic missile submarines, 1 nuclear submarine, 14 submarines
19 air defense combatants, 33 combatants, 19 small combatants, 
8 missile boats
1 landing platform, 5 landing ships, 6 auxiliaries

6. United Kingdom - 126 points
2 escort carriers

4 ballistic missile submarines, 7 nuclear submarines
6 air defense combatants, 13 combatants, 7 small combatants
5 landing platforms, 16 auxiliaries, 
13 mine hunters

7. Republic of Korea - 123 points

17 submarines
9 air defense combatants, 32 combatants, 33 small combatants, 
18 missile boats
1 assault ship, 8 landing ships, 7 auxiliaries
, 9 mine hunters

8. France - 115 points
1 carrier

4 ballistic missile submarines, 6 nuclear submarines
3 air defense combatants, 12 combatants, 12 small combatants
3 assault ships, 6 auxiliaries, 
14 mine hunters

9. Republic of China - 87 points

4 submarines
20 air defense combatants, 11 combatants, 9 small combatants, 
44 missile boats
1 landing platforms, 7 landing ships, 
3 auxiliaries, 8 mine hunters

10. Italy - 78 points
2 escort carriers

8 submarines
12 air defense combatants, 6 combatants, 10 small combatants
3 landing platforms, 4 auxiliaries, 
10 mine hunters

11. Turkey - 71 points

12 submarines
12 air defense combatants, 4 combatants, 14 small combatants, 
19 missile boats
3 landing ships, 
3 auxiliaries, 11 mine hunters

12. Egypt - 54 points

8 submarines
5 air defense combatants, 3 combatants, 5 small combatants, 
36 missile boats
2 assault ships, 
3 auxiliaries , 14 mine hunters

13. Greece - 51 points

11 submarines
4 air defense combatants, 9 combatants, 
18 missile boats
5 landing ships, 3 auxiliaries
, 3 mine hunters

14. Indonesia - 50 points

5 submarines
7 combatants, 10 small combatants, 
17 missile boats
5 landing platforms, 9 landing ships, 
6 auxiliaries, 8 mine hunters

15. Australia - 49 points
6 submarines
12 air defense combatants
2 assault ships, 1 landing platform, 3 auxiliaries, 
4 mine hunters

16. Spain - 45 points
1 assault carrier
2 submarines
11 air defense combatants, 8 small combatants
2 landing platforms, 
3 auxiliaries, 6 mine hunters

17. Germany - 42 points
6 submarines
7 air defense combatants, 3 combatants, 8 small combatants
11 auxiliaries, 12 mine hunters

18. Canada - 38 points
4 submarines
12 air defense combatants
6 auxiliaries, 12 mine hunters

19. Singapore - 35 points
4 submarines
6 air defense combatants, 8 small combatants, 
6 missile boats
4 landing platforms, 4 mine hunters

20. Iran - 34 points
3 submarines, 20 minisubs
7 small combatants, 65 missile boats
7 auxiliaries

21. Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea - 32 points

10 submarines, 50 minisubs
2 combatants, 2 small combatants, 26 missile boats

22. Brazil - 31 points
5 submarines
9 combatants, 4 small combatants
1 assault, 1 platform, 2 landing ships, 
1 auxiliaries, 5 mine hunters

23. Norway - 30 points
6 submarines 
4 air defense combatants, 4 combatants, 4 small combatants, 6 missile boats
2 auxiliaries, 6 mine hunters

24. Vietnam - 29 points
6 submarines
4 combatants, 7 small combatants, 
21 missile boats
2 landing ships, 8 mine hunters

25. Netherlands - 28 points
4 submarines
4 air defense combatants, 6 combatant
2 landing platforms, 
1 auxiliary, 6 mine hunters

26. Peru - 27 points
6 submarines
8 combatants, 1 small combatant, 
6 missile boats
1 landing platform, 
2 auxiliaries, 2 landing ships

27. Algeria - 26 points
6 submarines
6 combatants, 3 small combatants, 15 missile boats
1 landing platform, 2 mine hunters

28t. Chile - 25 points
4 submarines
2 air defense combatants, 6 combatants, 4 small combatants, 3 missile boats
1 landing platform, 4 auxiliaries

28t. Thailand - 25 points
1 helicopter carrier
3 air defense combatants, 5 combatants, 8 small combatants
1 landing platform, 2 landing ships, 
1 auxiliary, 5 mine hunters

30. Pakistan - 23 points
5 submarines, 3 minisubs
1 air defense combatants, 6 combatants, 2 small combatants, 7 missile boats
2 auxiliaries
, 3 mine hunters

31. Malaysia - 21 points
2 submarines
4 combatants, 8 small combatants, 12 missile boats
2 landing platforms, 
3 auxiliaries, 4 mine hunters

32. Bangladesh - 17 points
2 submarines
7 frigates, 6 small combatants, 
6 missile boats
5 mine hunters


33. Venezuela - 15.75 points
2 submarines
5 combatants, 3 small combatants, 3 missile boats
4 landing ships, 1 auxiliary

34. Sweden - 15.5 points
5 submarines
9 missile boats
2 auxiliaries
, 9 mine hunters

35. Denmark - 14.75 points
5 air defense combatants, 4 combatants, 3 missile boats

36. Mexico - 14.5 points
1 combatant, 19 small combatants
4 landing ships


37. Myanmar - 14.25 points
1 submarine
5 combatants, 4 small combatants, 13 missile boats
1 landing platform

38. Israel - 14 points
5 submarines
4 small combatants, 8 missile boats

39. Poland - 13.5 points
1 submarine, 2 minisubs
2 air defense combatants, 3 small combatants, 3 missile boats
19 mine hunters

40. Colombia - 12.5 points
2 submarines, 2 minisubs
4 combatants, 6 small combatants
2 auxiliaries

41t. Argentina - 12 points
4 combatants, 9 small combatants, 2 missile boats
6 auxiliaries


41t. Portugal - 12 points
2 submarines
5 combatants, 5 small combatants
1 auxiliary

41t . Saudi Arabia - 12 points
7 combatants, 13 missile boats
2 auxiliaries
, 3 mine hunters

44. Philippines - 11.5 points
5 frigates, 1 small combatant
2 landing platforms, 2 landing ships

45. South Africa - 11 points
3 submarines
4 combatants
1 auxiliary, 
2 mine hunters

46t. Ecuador - 8.25 points
2 submarines
2 combatants, 9 missile boats

46t. Romania - 8.25 points
3 combatants, 5 small combatants, 3  missile boats
2 auxiliaries
, 4 mine hunters

48t. Oman - 6.5 points
9 small combatants, 4 missile boats
1 landing ship

48t. Sri Lanka - 6.5 points
5 combatants, 1 small combatant, 2 missile boats

50. Bulgaria - 6.25 points
3 combatants, 1 small combatant, 1 missile boat
10 mine hunters

51. New Zealand - 5.5 points
2 combatants, 2 small combatants
1 landing platform, 1 auxiliary

52. United Arab Emirates - 5 points
1 small combatant, 
16 missile boats
2 mine hunters

53t. Finland - 4.5 points
2 small combatants, 8 missile boats
6 mine hunters

53t. Nigeria - 4.5 points
3 combatants, 2 small combatants
2 mine hunters

55t. Bahrain - 4 points
1 air defense combatant, 1 small combatant, 6 missile boats

55t. Morocco - 4 points
1 combatant, 6 small combatants

57t. Belgium - 3.5 points
2 combatants
6 mine hunters

57t. Ireland - 3.5 points
7 small combatants


59. Kuwait - 2.5 points
10 missile boats (2.5)

60. Cuba - 2.25 points

1 minisub
2 combatants


61t. Azerbaijan - 2 points
1 minisub
1 small combatant, 3 missile boats
2 mine hunters

61t. Uruguay - 2 points
1 combatant
1 auxiliary, 
2 mine hunters

63t. Qatar - 1.75 points
7 missile boats

63t. Ukraine - 1.75 points
1 combatant
1 auxiliary, 1 mine hunter

65. Equatorial Guinea - 1.5 points 
1 combatant, 1 small combatant

66t. Croatia - 1.25 points
5 missile boats

66t. Latvia - 1.25 points
5 mine hunters

68. Namibia - 1 points
1 combatant


69t. Estonia - 0.75 points
3 mine hunters

69t. Tunisia - 0.75 points
3 missile boats


71t. Iceland - 0.5 points
1 small combatant

71t. Kenya - 0.5 points
1 small combatant

71t. Lithuania - 0.5 points
2 mine hunters

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