Worldwide arms sales on the rise

Zoi Didili, Journalist, New Europe

Sales of arms and military services by companies listed in the Top 100 rose by nearly 5% worldwide in 2018, according to data released on Monday by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The turnover of the 100 biggest arms manufacturers came to US $420 billion, mostly thanks to US arm companies that dominate the Top5 spots: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics accounted for $148 billion and 35% of total Top 100 arms sales in 2018, while total arms sales of US companies amounted to $246 billion, equivalent to 59%.

“US companies are preparing for the new arms modernisation programme that was announced in 2017 by President Trump”, said Aude Fleurant, Director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme

Russia was second in the rankings, despite a significant 1.1% decrease in its combined arms sales, which accounted for $36.2 billion and 8.6% of total Top 100 arms sales in 2018.

According to the SIPRI report, Europe’s arms industry is constantly rising, having reached $102 billion in 2018. While UK’s arms sales fell by 4.8% to $35.1 billion, Britain still holds the lead, followed by France with $23.2 billion and Germany, whose total combined sales also fell by 3.8%, due to a drop in sales by shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp.

Concerning Turkey’s arms industry, two of its businesses were in the top 100, after a 22% increase rocketed its sales to $2.8 billion, reflecting the country’s efforts to modernise its arms industry and confront the Kurdish thread.

While 80 out of 100 top arms producers in 2018 were based in the USA, Europe and Russia, of the remaining 20, 6 were based in Japan, 3 in Israel, India and South Korea, respectively, 2 in Turkey and 1 each in Australia, Canada and Singapore.

The database excludes Chinese companies due to insufficient data, however, SIPRI’s research estimated that there were between three and seven Chinese businesses in the top 100 arms manufacturers.

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