TechIran and Israel: A detailed look into their military strengths

Iran and Israel: A detailed look into their military strengths

Israeli Merkava II tank
Israeli Merkava II tank
Images source: © IDF

12:32 PM EDT, April 15, 2024

The conflict in the Middle East raises many questions related to worldwide security. It involves two of the world’s most formidable armies. So, what military capabilities do both sides of the conflict possess?

According to the Global Fire Power list, which ranks military strength based on available weaponry, Iran and Israel are ranked 14th and 17th, respectively. This places them ahead of countries like Germany and Poland, which are ranked 19th and 21st.

Furthermore, information from the website shows that Iran has a larger active number of soldiers than Israel. However, the defense budgets of these countries tell a different story. Israel's defense budget is higher than Iran's, amounting to 24.2 billion dollars, compared to Iran's 9.9 billion dollars.

Israel vs Iran: Comparing Military Potentials

The differences between the two states extend beyond their budgets. Israel has fewer naval units, with only 67 ships compared to Iran's 101. Let's delve into the specifics of their military capabilities across different types of weapons and examine particular weapon models.

Generally, determining which country is stronger is challenging. While Iran's military strategy relies on older equipment, its substantial quantity is noteworthy. Moreover, Iran focuses on missile technology development, including ballistic missiles, which is crucial since the two countries do not share a border, necessitating reliance on aviation and missiles for attacks.

Israel, however, is well-equipped to defend against such attacks. This includes the Iron Dome, which is equipped with Tamir missiles that can intercept targets up to approximately 43 miles away and reach speeds of 2.2 Mach.

The geographical distance between Iran and Israel, almost 621 miles from Iran's westernmost point to Jerusalem, acts as a natural buffer, aiding Israeli defense systems in detecting and intercepting threats more effectively.

Iran's Arsenal

The backbone of the Iranian air force is the MiG-29 fighter, also part of Poland's arsenal. This aircraft, designed in the 1970s, can reach speeds of 2.3 Mach and has a range of about 1087 miles. It's armed with a 30 mm GSz-30-1 cannon and can carry additional weapons on its hard points. Iran's air force also boasts F-14 Tomcat fighters, F-5 Tiger IIs, and Chengdu F-7 Airguards.

On the ground, Iran's forces are led by Zulfiqar tanks, which resemble the American M1 Abrams and are equipped with a powerful diesel engine and a 125 mm gun. The country also employs other domestically produced tanks and foreign models like the T-72S and M-60A1.

In terms of missiles, Iran's important assets include Ghadr and Emad missiles with ranges of about 1243 miles. These missiles employ MIRV-type warheads, posing a challenge to Israeli defense forces by necessitating multiple anti-missiles for interception.

Iranian MiG-29
Iranian MiG-29© Wikimedia Commons

The Israeli Army's Capabilities

Israel's prominent position in the Global Fire Power ranking is attributed to its modern and well-regarded military assets. The Israeli army (IDF) relies on Merkava tanks, known for their advanced design and defensive capabilities. The Merkava Mk IV, in particular, offers substantial firepower and defensive features, like movable armor plates and shields against anti-tank grenades.

Additionally, the IDF utilizes Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers, developed from captured T-54 and T-55 tanks and possesses valuable self-propelled systems like the M109A2 Paladin and artillery capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Launch of Emad and Ghadr-1 missiles during the practice destruction of Adirs in the mock-up hangars of Palmachim air base - a conceptual photo
Launch of Emad and Ghadr-1 missiles during the practice destruction of Adirs in the mock-up hangars of Palmachim air base - a conceptual photo© Tasnim

The Israeli Air Force is equipped with cutting-edge weapons, including F-35 and F-16 fighter jets, and is renowned for its capabilities and technological advantage in conflicts.

Most importantly, Israel is rumored to have up to 500 nuclear warheads, which can be deployed using Jericho-2B intercontinental ballistic missiles, representing a significant threat on a global scale.

Israeli Merkava II tank
Israeli Merkava II tank© IDF
Israeli F-35
Israeli F-35© Wikimedia Commons | Staff Sgt. Madeline Herzog
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