American weapons makers continue to dominate the global arms trade, accounting for over half of all the weapons sold in the world last year while Russia continued to gradually expand its market, a new study shows. The new international arms industry data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday showed that global weapons sales reached $398.2 billion last year. Raking in the highest profits were 42 American companies with overall sales of $226.6 billion, a whopping 57 percent of all arms deals signed by the world’s Top 100 arms makers. This was an increase of 2.5 per cent compared with 2016 and marks the third consecutive year of growth in Top 100 arms sales.
The US-based company Lockheed Martin remained on top of the 100 largest military companies, with sales amounting to $44 billion — no other company in the industry could get close. In comparison, Germany’s largest defense group, Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall AG, didn’t even sell a tenth of that amount. With total sales capping out at $3.4 billion, Rheinmetall only ranked 25th on the list. According to SIPRI, Lockheed Martin’s success was largely due to the US military’s need for newer and more advanced weapon systems, including the F-35 Lightning stealth warplanes and the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. The company is also working with the Pentagon to come up with a response to China and Russia’s plans to develop an expensive “hypersonic missile” that can easily bypass conventional missile defense systems. “US companies directly benefit from the US Department of Defense’s ongoing demand for weapons,” wrote Aude Fleurant, the director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program.
Russia has emerged as the world’s second-largest arms producer after the United States. Russia surpassed Britain, which had held that spot since 2002 and remains Western Europe’s No. 1 arms maker. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its annual report on the world’s 100 biggest armaments groups that the combined arms sales of Russian companies amounted to $37.7 billion in 2017, an 8.5 percent rise from a year earlier. Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher at the institute, said Russian producers of arms and weapon systems have been on a significant growth path since 2011. “This is in line with Russia’s increased spending on arms procurement to modernize its armed forces,” Wezeman said. For the first time in the report’s history, a Russian company- the Moscow-based and state-owned Almaz-Antey that makes advanced air defense systems among other things- was listed among the world’s top 10 weapons companies.
The combined arms sales of West European arms producers in the Top 100 grew by 3.8 per cent in 2017, to $94.9 billion. The arms sales of companies based in the United Kingdom were the highest in Western Europe ($35.7 billion in 2017), accounting for 9.0 per cent of the Top 100 total in 2017 (see figure 2). Between 2002 and 2016, the annual combined arms sales of British companies in the Top 100 were second only to those of US companies. However, in 2017 Russia was the second largest arms producer in the Top 100: the combined arms sales of Russian companies ($37.7 billion) accounted for 9.5 per cent of the Top 100 total in 2017.
Korean arms manufacturers and military services companies saw a drop in their sales last year despite a boom in the global market, according to new international arms industry data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Industry officials said that the poor performance was attributable to tough government regulations and “excessive” investigations into alleged corruption related to defense procurement, which has put companies off innovating and advancing their businesses. Four Korean companies _ Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), Hanwha Aerospace, LIG Nex1 and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) _ were listed in the SIPRI Top 100, with combined arms sales of $5.5 billion, just 1.4 percent of the top 100 total.
Other notable developments
• The arms sales of Turkish companies rose by 24 per cent in 2017. ‘This significant increase reflects Turkey’s ambitions to develop its arms industry to fulfil its growing demand for weapons and become less dependent on foreign suppliers,’ says Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. That reflected “Turkey’s ambitions to develop its arms industry to fulfill its growing demand for weapons and become less dependent on foreign suppliers,” senior researcher Pieter Wezeman said.
• Taken together, the arms sales of the four Indian companies ranked in the Top 100 totalled $7.5 billion in 2017, representing a 1.9 per cent share of Top 100 arms sales.
• Sales of the top 15 manufacturing companies listed in the Fortune Global 500 totalled $2311 billion in 2017. This is almost 10 times greater than the total arms sales of the top 15 arms producers ($231.6 billion) in 2017, and almost six times greater than the total combined arms sales of the Top 100 ($398.2 billion).
The top biggest weapons companies are Lockheed Martin (LMT) that makes a wide range of products including aircraft, missiles, unmanned systems and radar systems; Boeing (BA) – aircraft (747, 757 and recently, the 787 Dreamliner), electronics, missiles and space. Boeing had $1 billion worth of contracts with NASA in 2011. General Dynamics (GD) — artillery, electronics, vehicles, small arms and ships, including strategic missile systems, laser and electro-optical systems and global positioning systems. Raytheon (RTN) dealing with electronics, missiles, including Tomahawk Cruise Missile, Northrop Grumman (NOC) — aircraft, electronics, missiles, ships, space, The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), aircraft, electronics, missiles and space; Italian compay Finmeccanica dealing with aircraft, artillery, engines, electronics, vehicles and missiles, L-3 communications that deals with C4ISR, National security , aircraft modernization and maintenance and electronic systems; United Technologies(UTX) known for aircrafts, electronics and engines , Balck hawk helicopter for US army and Seahawk helicopters for US navy; United Technologies – owner of Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney – moved up two places to take the position of eighth biggest defence company