Countries With the Most Submarines

North Korea has one of the countries with the Most submarines than any other country.

The concept of submersibles can be traced to the fifth century during the siege of Syracuse (415 – 413 BC). The first of the modern submarines was made for the French Navy and commissioned in 1863. The submarine Plongeur was fitted with a reciprocating engine powered by compressed air from 23 tanks. The submarine was combat ineffective as it was extremely slow and had poor maneuverability. The modern submarine can unleash a barrage of nuclear and conventional missiles against ocean-going and land based targets. Modern submarines are used for deterrence and attack. There are three categories of submarines: the cruise missile submarine, the attack submarine, and the ballistic missile submarine. They are either powered by nuclear or diesel fuel. North Korea owns the most submarines of any country in the world.

Countries With the Most Submarines


China has the largest fleet of submarines in the world with 18 nuclear-powered and 58 non-nuclear powered vessels. The Chinese Navy has invested a significant amount of money in the past 40 years to expand its fleet. The rise of Chinese influence in the Pacific is threatening the dominance of the United States and her allies as the world’s most populous country continues to develop sophisticated artillery. In 2015 China unveiled three nuclear-powered submarines that are speculated to be either the advanced type 094 or 093.

North Korea

North Korea is thought to be in possession of between 72 and 76 submarines. However, the entire fleet is diesel powered. Despite being in possession of nuclear weapons, the country has yet to produce a nuclear-powered submarine. A few of the North Korean submarines have become obsolete and are battle ineffective. In spite of that, the remaining fleet is reason enough for other countries such as the United States to be concerned. The “Sinpo-Class” submarine is thought to be capable of firing ballistic cruise missiles that can be fitted with nuclear warheads.

The United States

The United States Navy is in possession of 70 submarines. The entire American fleet is nuclear-powered. Each of the vessels can last in the sea for more than 25 years with occasional replenishment of the food reserves. The country is in possession of cruise missile submarines, attack submarines and ballistic submarines with the capability of launching nuclear arsenal anywhere in the world. The United States is currently developing the Virginia class of submarines that is set to counter the strengthening influence of the Chinese Navy in the Pacific.


Russia has a fleet of 61 submarines that consist of 39 nuclear-powered and 22 diesel powered vessels. The Russian fleet consists of the attack submarines, ballistic missile submarines, and cruise missile submarines. Russia is in the process of adopting and integrating modern technology in its fleet to counter NATO. In 2017, the state unveiled the Yasen Class, which is the most powerful nuclear-powered submarine of the Russian Navy.

Global Submarine Power

There are 503 submarines in the world. 141 are nuclear powered while the rest are diesel powered. The United States, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia are the only countries with nuclear-powered submarines. Only 38 countries are in the possession of submarines. Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Libya are the only African countries with the vessels.

Which Country Has the Most Submarines?

North Korea has more submarines than any other country, with a total count of 72.

Countries With the Most Submarines

RankCountryNumer of Submarines
1North Korea72
3South Korea23

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