Sales of arms by the sector’s largest 100 companies (excluding those in China) rose to US$420 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 4.6% compared with the previous year. This is according to new data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The SIPRI data shows that arms sales by the Top 100 companies have increased by 47% since 2002. It should be noted that the database excludes Chinese companies due to a lack of data making it difficult to arrive at a reliable estimation.
For the first time since 2002, the top five armament companies have their headquarters in the USA. And the total arms sales by US companies rose to US$246 billion, equivalent to 59% of all arms sales by the Top 100 in the ranking. This figure represents an increase of 7.2% compared with 2017.
For their part, Russian arms sales remain stable. The combined sales of the ten leading Russian companies to appear in the 2018 ranking were US$36.2 billion. A slight decrease of 0.4% compared with 2017.
SIPRI confirmed an increase in arms sales for French companies but a decrease for British and German companies. The combined arms sales of the 27 European companies in the Top 100 increased marginally in 2018, to US$102 billion. Arms sales by companies based in the UK fell by 4.8%, to US$35.1 billion, but remained amongst the highest in Europe.
The combined arms sales of the French companies in the Top 100 were the second-highest in Europe, at US$23.2 billion. Total combined sales for the four German arms-producing companies in the ranking fell by 3.8%.
Eighty of the Top 100 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; 2 in Turkey, and 1 in Australia, Canada and Singapore.
The combined sales of the six Japanese companies remained relatively stable in 2018. At US$9.9 billion, they accounted for 2.4% of the total for the Top 100 companies.
The SIPRI Arms Industry Database was created in 1989. At that time, it didn’t include data for Eastern European countries, including the Soviet Union. The current version contains data from 2002 onwards, including that of Russian companies. Chinese companies are not included because of a lack of available data on which to make a reasonable or consistent estimate of arms sales dating back to 2002.
It should be clarified that arms sales’ are defined as sales of military goods and services to military customers domestically and abroad.