Northern Macedonia Military

Northern Macedonia is a small country located in the Balkan Peninsula, bordered by Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. The population of Northern Macedonia is approximately 2 million people. Its capital city is Skopje and the official language is Macedonian. The main religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

The military of Northern Macedonia consists of an army, air force and air defense forces. The total active personnel in the military are around 7,000 people. The army has around 6,000 personnel with a focus on ground operations and border protection. It also has a small navy with only two ships for coastal defense operations. The air force consists of around 1,000 personnel and operates mainly helicopters for reconnaissance and transport missions. Air defense forces consist of anti-aircraft artillery units for protecting the airspace from enemy aircrafts. Northern Macedonia has been a member of NATO since 2020 and also maintains close ties with other countries in the Balkans region such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania and Greece. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Macedonia.

Northern Macedonia’s defense is further bolstered by its participation in various international military organizations. The country is a member of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Council of Europe. It also participates in some regional organizations such as the Balkan Stability Pact, which promotes peace and stability in the region. Northern Macedonia also has an agreement with Greece to cooperate on military operations, training, and other defense related matters. In addition, Northern Macedonia has signed a number of bilateral agreements with other countries for mutual defense assistance.


Plans from 1999 aimed at organizing an army of three corps with three brigades each with lighter equipment and an air defense with grounded air defense systems; some fighter aircraft were not included. This goal has been achieved. The defense, which is based on general military service in six months, comprises about 11,000 men. The reserves amount to 21,000 people. These forces are organized into two active brigades with eight in reserve and supported by an air force with ten attack helicopters and four attack aircraft. The semi-military police units amount to 7,600 men.

Defense costs fell in 1996-2006 from 9.2 percent to 2.2 percent of GDP. Since the civil war in the Balkans, there are dormant in Northern Macedonia 2,000–3,000 men belonging to the National Liberation Army, NLA (for a Great Banana) and 5,000–12,000 men belonging to the Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosevës/Kosovo Liberation Army, UÇK/KLA (for a free Kosovo).

Northern Macedonia participates in UN peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan (International Security Assistance Force, ISAF), Bosnia and Herzegovina (European Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR) and Iraq (Multi-National Force, MNF). To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that UEM stands for Macedonia.

Macedonia Army

Northern Macedonia was granted NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) status in NATO in 1999, but has not achieved full membership due to the name dispute with Greece. Military duty was discontinued in 2006. Northern Macedonia’s armed forces have a combined personnel force of 8,000 active personnel, a reserve of 4850, and 7600 semi-military police forces.

Army, navy and air defense are not separate arms branches, but components of a common force. Of heavy equipment has land component 31 tanks of a T-72, 10 reconnaissance vehicles, 10 armored vehicles and 202 armored personnel. The air component has 12 helicopters, including four Mi-24 combat helicopters, one light transport aircraft, and five training aircraft. The sea component has two patrol vessels.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Do you know where is Macedonia on the world map? Come to see the location and all bordering countries of Macedonia.

Forces abroad

In 2018, Macedonia participated, among others, in the NATO operation in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 44 personnel, and in the UN operation in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with two personnel.