Global spending on arms and military equipment continued to rise last year. The SIPRI International Peace Research Institute has estimated the total turnover of the 25 largest international arms companies in 2019 at $ 361 billion (almost € 300 billion). This is 8.5% more than a year earlier. The report was published in Stockholm on Monday.
The most important traders are by far the United States. The twelve US companies included in the ranking account for 61% of worldwide sales. The five largest arms manufacturers Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics recorded sales of $ 166 billion (€ 136 billion) alone.
China ranks second in the global arms trade with 16%. The four Chinese companies listed on Sipri increased their sales by 4.8% in one year. SIPRI researcher Nan Tian explained it this way: "Chinese arms companies are benefiting from the People's Liberation Army's military modernization programs." Most of the sales are done in their own country.
Russia is in third place in the world ranking with a share of 3.9%. Foreign exports for Russian arms manufacturers are limited by sanctions stemming from the conflict in Ukraine and the occupation of the Crimean peninsula. The revenues of the two listed companies decreased by a total of $ 634 million (€ 522 million). The third Russian manufacturer dropped out of the top 25.
"Russia is a very strong player and has a strong defense industry," said Lucy Bero-Sudro, head of SIPRI’s arms trade and military spending research program. However, due to the economic situation, the modernization of the armed forces has slowed down. "This, of course, means lower sales for the Russian arms industry because its main customer, the Russian government, is ordering less."
The six largest Western European companies together accounted for 18%. German companies are not among the top 25. The largest German defense company Rheinmetall increased its sales by 4% to $ 3.9 billion (€ 3.2 billion).
Bero-Sudro said the rise in arms spending is also a reflection of tensions in international politics. This development has been observed since the Russian occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. And it intensified after the accession of US President-elect Donald Trump to the White House in 2016.
Read the original text at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung