Singapore ranked 64th in the world for military strength

Singapore is used to being at or near the top in international economic rankings of all sorts, but there are some rankings it will probably never come out tops in.

As a little red dot on the map, Singapore's small size and population means that it is unlikely to rank as highly as larger countries in terms of military strength.

In the 2016 world military strength rankings released by website Global Firepower, Singapore is ranked 64th out of 126 countries worldwide.

The ranking takes into account over 50 factors to assess a country's conventional military capability. According to Global Firepower, the ranking does not simply rely on the total number of weapons a country has, but focuses on weapon diversity to provide a better balance.

However, it also explains that available manpower is a key consideration, with geographical factors, logistical flexibility, natural resources and local industry also influencing the final ranking.

The United States of America remains the most powerful military in the world, according to the rankings. The rest of the top 10 are (in order): Russia, China, India, France, United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, Germany and Italy. South Korea was just outside of the top 10 at 11th, 14 rungs above North Korea which ranked 25th.

Among Singapore's Southeast Asian neighbours, Indonesia was the highest ranked country in the region at 14th, while Malaysia was ranked 34th.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that Singapore has a weak defence force. In fact, there is quite a large emphasis placed on defence in the city-state.

According to figures on the World Bank website, Singapore spent about 3.1 per cent of its GDP on military spending from 2011 to 2015. In the same period, Indonesia spent 0.8% of its GDP on military spending, while Malaysia spent 1.5 per cent.

At the recent Committee of Supply debate, Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said that Singapore would continue to "invest wisely and spend prudently" on defence.

In his speech, he said that Singapore's defence expenditure has grown by about four per cent annually over the past decade, keeping pace with inflation. "I expect to maintain the same trajectory in the longer term," he added.

Dr Ng also said that the Singapore Armed Forces will continue to refresh and upgrade its platforms at a sustainable pace.

He revealed that the navy is acquiring eight versatile Littoral Mission Vessels, the army will launch a new Protected Combat Support Vehicle, while the airforce's aging Super Pumas and Chinook helicopters will soon be replaced. More unmanned platforms will be deployed to free up manpower resources for other missions, he said.