TNI soldiers are cleaning materials carried by flood in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara on Tuesday (21/11). (Antara Photo/Ahmad Subaidi)

A Peek at Southeast Asia's Strongest Military


APRIL 23, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia has maintained its position as the largest military power in Southeast Asia, according to Global Firepower's latest rankings, released this month.

Global Firepower, established in 2006, provides analyses of the military capabilities of hundreds of countries across the globe.

According to its website, a country's ranking is determined by its ability to project military power on land, sea and in the air, based on resources, finances and geography.

Despite having dropped one position in this year's ranking to 15th place out of 136, Indonesia still leads in Southeast Asia, followed by Vietnam (20), Thailand (27), Myanmar (35) and Malaysia (44).

Total Personnel

As the world's fourth most populous nation with 262 million people, Indonesia has a total military manpower of 975,750 personnel, 435,750 of which are actively serving.

Members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) prepare for deployment to secure the 2017 regional election in Jakarta in this file photo. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

However, in terms of manpower, the Indonesian Military (TNI) is relatively small compared with other countries with large populations. Brazil, as the world's fifth most populated country, has 1.9 million military personnel.

The United States, as the world's third most populated country, and China, the world's most populated, each has more than 2 million military personnel, while India, the world's second most populated country, has more than 4 million.

The Indonesian Ministry of Defense is now trying to push a bill to establish a reserve component as a way to enlarge and strengthen the country's military by allowing men older than 18 years to undergo two months of basic military training.

Members of this reserve component will be required to participate in military operations when requested, such as in the event of war or natural disaster.


The Indonesian Army consists of 328,000 members serving in various units, including the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) and Army Special Forces Command (Kopassus).

Indonesian soldiers clearing flood debris in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, in this file photo. (Antara Photo/Ahmad Subaidi)

The army is equipped with 418 combat tanks, 1,131 armored fighting vehicles, 105 self-propelled artillery, 356 towed artillery and 153 rocket launchers.

Indonesian soldiers flank an Anoa armored personnel carrier developed by state-owned arms manufacturer Pindad. (Antara Photo/M Agung Rajasa)


The Indonesian Navy has a total personnel of 74,000, deployed in the Western Fleet Command in Jakarta, and Eastern Fleet Command in Surabaya, East Java.

An Indonesian Navy Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 twin-engine, multi-purpose helicopter landing on a ship in the Java Sea. (Antara Photo/M Risyal Hidayat)

The navy contributes to maritime security, one of the pillars in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's vision to turn Indonesia into a global maritime axis.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the navy signed a memorandum of understanding in 2014 to work together to protect the sovereignty of Indonesian waters, including carrying out the policy of sinking vessels that are impounded for illegal fishing activities in the country's waters.

The ministry has sunk 317 vessels since 2015 and the number is expected to rise to 405 by the end of this year.

Two boats that were impounded for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters are scuttled in waters off North Sumatra. (Antara Photo/Septianda Perdana)

Indonesia has 221 naval assets, including eight frigates, 24 corvettes, three submarines, 74 patrol craft and 12 mine-warfare vessels. However, it still lacks aircraft carriers and destroyers, which are needed to face a strong enemy.

Despite its limited assets, the navy has an obligation to protect Indonesia's waters of 3 million square kilometers, which make up almost 70 percent of the country's total surface area.

Amphibious combat vehicles in action during the 72nd anniversary of the Indonesian Military in Banten on Nov. 5, 2017. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao.)

Air Force

The Indonesian Air Force consists of 34,000 personnel and it operates 41 airbases spread out across the country.

It has 478 aircraft, including fighter jets, transporters, helicopters and trainers.

President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, center, inspecting equipment used in a military exercise in Natuna, Riau Islands, in 2016. (Antara Photo/M N Kanwa)

Indonesia recently signed a contract to purchase 11 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets through a barter deal, which involves commodities such as palm oil and coffee.

An Indonesian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet being prepared for takeoff at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on March 28. (Antara Photo/Darwin Fatir)

Indonesia's defense expenditure has increased 155 percent since 2010 to Rp 114.2 trillion ($8.1 billion) last year and while this year's defense budget decreased to Rp 107.7 trillion, it is still more than those of other government ministries and institutions.