Global arms sales increase by 4.6 percent, U.S. firms dominate

Global arms sales increase by 4.6 percent, U.S. firms dominate

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US firms top arms sales list as 2018 global spend rises to $420 billion

The global arms industry continues to grow with total sales up 4.6% last year, according to the latest report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

US companies dominate the Top 100

For the first time since 2002, the top five spots in the ranking are held by the United States arms companies: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics.

The five American companies accounted for $148 billion and 35 percent of total Top 100 arms sales in 2018. Revenue for all the 43 U.S. firms, according to the report, adds up to $246 billion, around 59% of all arms sales by the top 100 firms.

‘US companies are preparing for the new arms modernization program that was announced in 2017 by President Trump,’ says Aude Fleurant, Director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘Large US companies are merging to be able to produce the new generation of weapon systems and therefore be in a better position to win contracts from the US Government.’

Russia’s arms sales remain constant

The 10 Russian defense companies on the list managed to almost maintain their 2017 figure — selling $36.2 billion worth of military equipment and services.

Russia’s largest arms producer, Almaz-Antey, was the only Russian firm to make the top 10 list with the state-owned company having a particular focus on anti-aircraft defense systems.

‘This increase was due not only to strong domestic demand, but also to continued growth in sales to other countries, particularly of the S-400 air defense system’ says Alexandra Kuimova, Researcher for SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

U.S. Army infantryman fires a Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank missile during a combined arms live fire exercise as part of Exercise Eastern Action 2019 at Al-Ghalail Range in Qatar, Nov. 14, 2018. US Army photo

U.S. Army infantryman fires a Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank missile during combined arms live-fire exercise as part of Exercise Eastern Action 2019 at Al-Ghalail Range in Qatar, Nov. 14, 2018. – US Army photo

French arms deals increase while sales of British and German companies decline

Combined arms sales of 27 European companies in the top 100 increased gradually in 2018 to $102 billion. U.K. firms accounted for $35.1 billion in 2018, the highest of the European nations.

U.K.’s BAE Systems ranked sixth in the top 100 list, making it the largest arms seller outside of the United States in 2018. However, arms sales by U.K. companies fell by 4.8 percent, to $35.1 billion, but still remain highest in Europe.

‘Six of the eight UK-based companies listed in the Top 100 reported a reduction in arms sales in 2018’ which ‘was partly due to delays in the UK’s arms modernization program’ explains Nan Tian, Researcher for SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

The total arms sales of French companies were the second highest in Europe at $23.2 billion. ‘The overall growth in arms sales of the six French companies in the SIPRI Top 100 was mainly the result of a 30 percent increase in sales by combat aircraft producer Dassault Aviation,’ says Diego Lopes da Silva, Researcher for SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

The two companies based in Italy had combined arms sales of $11.7 billion. Leonardo, the largest Italian arms producer, was ranked 8th, with arms sales of $9.8 billion and the shipbuilding company, Fincantieri, was ranked 50th.

The arms sales of the four German companies in the ranking fell by 3.8 percent.

The five other European companies listed in the Top 100 were Saab (Sweden), UkrOboronProm (Ukraine), PGZ (Poland), Navantia (Spain), and RUAG (Switzerland).

The combined arms sales of the two trans-European companies listed in the Top 100 were $15.4 billion and Airbus Group ranked 7th in the list with $11.7 billion sales.

Others in Top 100

Around eighty of the 100 top arms producers in 2018 were based in the USA, Europe and Russia. Other 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 arms sales of three Israeli companies, Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael, worth $8.7 billion accounted for 2.1 percent of the top 100 total. The Israeli weapons sale increased in 2018.

The arms sales of the three Indian arms companies listed in the Top 100 were $5.9 billion in 2018 — a decrease of 6.9 percent in 2017.

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