The tension between Iran and the United States has reached its peak in recent times. In response to the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the country launched a missile attack against the US-led forces in the wee hours of Wednesday. Iran fired more than a dozen of ballistic missiles from its territory on two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel. There have been conflicting reports of the damage caused by the attack. Some reports are arguing that around 80 military personnel have lost their lives, in contrast, the US President Donald Trump said, "all is well".
The latest round of attacks has renewed the fear of full-blown war against two arch enemies. Given the uncertainties of the decisions taken by Donald Trump, a large scale war cannot be ruled out. Here is the breakdown of the military strength of the two countries.
As per the global firepower Index, the US is the most powerful military in the world followed by Russia and China; in comparison, Iran is ranked number 14. In terms of the military budget, in 2018, Iran spent $13.2 billion on its military while the United States spent a whopping $ 648.8 billion. The US has around 21, 41,900 military personnel in total including the active personnel and the reserve forces. Iran maintains around 8,73,000 personnel including its active and reserved strength. Since military conscription is mandatory in Iran for all males over the age of 18, hence it is difficult to estimate the exact number of active reserves.
The US military operates the world's best aircraft, tanks, arms, and ammunitions. US Air force is the biggest Air force in the world with around 2362 fighter aircraft. Further its Navy is the second biggest Air force in the world. Iran, on the other hand, is way behind in terms of the number of fighter aircraft with only 165 in its kitty.
What is the major strength and weaknesses of Iran?
As per the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Iran has the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the West Asian region. In fact, it has the ability to strike Israel over 2,000 kilometres away as well as parts of south-east Europe with its ballistic and cruise missiles. It has more than 1900 rocket projectiles as against the US which has around 1056 rocket projectiles. While it has the one the best arsenals of the missile, Iran's defence forces have a weak air force and lack of regional military bases and key allies.
The compassion clearly shows that the US is way ahead of Iran in its military might but it is highly unlikely that the two countries would engage in a full-blown direct conflict with Iran having backed by Russia. But in future, the proxy war between these countries is expected to spill more blood in the west Asian region.