SIPRI: US Dwarfs Rest of World in Armaments Production
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - December 10, 2018
According to a recent study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, the production of arms and military equipment in the world has increased.
The total sales of the 100 largest arms companies in 2017 amounted to $398.2 billion--2.5% more than in 2016 and 44% more than in 2002. Humanity continues to arm itself, and the sale of military equipment and equipment remains an important part of the exports and economic potential of a number of countries. US firms are by far at the top of the global arms trade, according to an expert report, while Russia, Turkey and China are also boosting production.
US companies hold more than half of the world market share for military equipment, according to the SIPRI. The report includes both domestic and foreign sales around the globe, but doesn’t include Chinese companies because of unreliable statistics, the institute said.
The American company Lockheed Martin remains the undisputed leader among the world's 100 largest defense companies — no other company in the industry made a larger profit in 2017. With sales amounting to $44 billion, Lockheed Martin leads the SIPRI ranking by a wide margin.
The success of front-runner Lockheed Martin is based primarily on the large equipment requirements of the US armed forces, for which the group manufactures various weapon systems, including the F-35 Lightning combat aircraft and the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
Boeing is the world's second-largest arms manufacturer. In July, President Trump awarded Boeing a contract to build two new Air Force One aircrafts for the president's travels. Trump bargained the price down to $3.9 billion and did away with the previous light blue and white design.
The most reliable customer for the American armaments industry is the US Army, which is constantly in the market for new weapons and is able to afford extremely expensive systems such as aircraft carriers.
The arms race with countries such as Russia and China also fuels business: Lockheed Martin is currently developing an expensive "hypersonic missile" that can bypass conventional radar systems. Russia and China already have long-range missiles of this kind that fly at multiple speeds of sound. The arms race now also includes space, which Trump wants to dominate with a future "space force." In the coming year, the US intends to invest the record sum of $716 billion in armaments.
Apart from the US, only a few European companies can compete in the top positions, including the Airbus Group. Airbus produces the breakdown-prone transport aircraft A400M for several European armies.
Great Britain remains the largest weapons manufacturer in Western Europe, followed by France. The British mega-group BAE Systems, which has more than 83,000 employees, is the only European manufacturer to make it into the top 5 in the world. BAE Systems is involved in the construction of the European fighter aircraft Eurofighter Typhoon, which is also sold to countries such as Saudi Arabia.
In 2017, Russian defense companies, which are benefiting from Putin's modernization program for the army, made strong gains. The combined arms sales of Russian companies amounted to $37.7 billion in 2017, an 8.5% increase from a year earlier. Russia’s sales accounted for 9.5% of a worldwide total of $398.2 billion.
State-owned Almaz-Antey, Russia's largest armaments company, has for the first time made it into SIPRI's top 10.
Turkey is also arming itself: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's strategy of becoming less dependent on arms imports has boosted Turkish arms manufacturers' profits by 24%.
According to the Stockholm researchers, three Chinese companies should also be among the top players. However, since they publish little reliable information on their arms sales, they have not been included in the list.