Global weapons sales rise for first time since 2010


Global weapons sales by the industry's top 100 companies rose 2 percent in 2016 to almost $375 billion after a half decade of decline, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found in a new report.

Sales of arms and military services by the world's largest arms-producing and military services companies - the SIPRI Top 100 - totalled $374.8bn in 2016, according to new global arms industry data released by the Stockholm worldwide Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Lockheed Martin's sales grew by 10.7 percent previous year, which report co-author Aude Fleurant, who directs of SIPRI's Arms and Military Expenditures Program, attributed to "the acquisition of helicopter producer Sikorsky in late 2015 and higher delivery volumes of the F-35 combat aircraft".

Sipri said growth in arms sales was triggered by "military operations in several countries and persistent regional tensions that are leading to an increased demand for weapons". USA weapons producers which claimed the largest share of sales, about 58 percent, raked up US$$217 billion worth of sales. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia, the fourth largest spender, is the largest client of American arms, accounting for 13 percent of arms sales by United States companies.

American firms remained at the top of the industry in 2016, with sales increasing by 4 per cent to more than $217 billion which was 58 per cent of the global total.

The Brexit decision does not seem to have had an impact on the arms sales of British companies, which rose 2.0 percent in 2016, SIPRI said.

Sales of Western Europe arm producers totaled $91.6 billion, a rise of 0.2 percent from 2015. Its arms sales grew by 15.6 per cent compared with 2015 due to increased deliveries to the Russian armed forces and higher export volumes.

The latest figures show that weapons sales in 2016 by the world's largest arms manufacturers exceeded the GDP of all but 26 of the world's nations according to World Bank statistics for 2016.

The SIPRI has placed South Korea among the emerging producers, which also covers Indian and Brazilian companies.

Companies from South Korea boosted their arms sales by 20.6 percent to $8.4 billion a year ago due to concerns over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. 'Continuing and rising threat perceptions drive South Korea's acquisitions of military equipment, and it is increasingly turning to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons, ' says Siemon Wezeman.

On the other hand, Japan reported negative increase of -6.4 per cent. Japan is clubbed with Australia, Israel, Poland, Singapore and Ukraine under other established producers' category by the SIPRI.