The production of military equipment worldwide continues to grow strongly. In the US, according to the Swedish peace research institute Sipri, large corporations are increasingly benefiting from the fact that companies are taking over smaller companies, the researchers write in a recent report.
"US companies are preparing for the new arms modernization program announced by President Trump in 2017," says Sipri weapons expert Aude Fleurant on the development. "Large US companies are merging to be able to produce the new generation of weapon systems and thus be in a better position to win contracts from the US government."
All in all, the world's top 100 arms companies reported year-on-year sales growth of 4.6 percent, according to the report. It is the fourth increase in a row. In 2017, according to the Stockholm researchers, the plus was 2.5 percent.
According to Sipri, the total value of manufactured military goods and military services amounted to $ 420 billion last year. Goods from companies in China were not taken into account – these still lack sufficient data for reliable estimates.
By far ahead of sales remains the US. For the first time since 2002, since Sipri also has comparable data on deliveries from Russia, US companies take all five top positions among the leading defense companies. These are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. Taken together, they sold $ 148 billion worth of armaments, according to Sipri.
Overall, US companies have come to $ 246 billion – equivalent to 59 percent of all sales among the 100 largest arms producers and an increase of 7.2 percent compared to 2017.
Germany behind Italy, Japan and Israel
Twenty-four percent of global arms sales are in Europe, according to the report. The 27 European arms producers on the list sold $ 102 billion worth of goods – a slight increase of 0.7 percent.
Sipri considers arms sales to be the sale of military goods and services to military customers both at home and abroad. According to the peace researchers, sales have increased by almost 47 percent since 2002.
By contrast, the figures of the four listed German companies decreased by 3.8 percent overall. Rising deliveries of military vehicles from Rheinmetall to the German Armed Forces are counteracting a decline in sales at the marine division ThyssenKrupp, said Sipri expert Pieter D. Wezeman. Thus, according to the report, Germany has a share of two per cent in the worldwide arms sales and ranks behind Italy, Japan and Israel, but ahead of India and South Korea. Airbus is listed in the Sipri evaluation as a trans-European corporation because the company is based in more than one country.
Carsten Rehder / dpa
Submarine shipyard of Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems in Kiel: Germany has a share of two percent in the worldwide arms sales
Sales of French armourers increased by 2.4 percent, while the British fell by 4.8 percent, among other things due to delays in their country's arms modernization program. The UK still remains Europe's number one weapon vendor.
Arms sales from Russia remained almost unchanged: The top 10 Russian companies sold goods and services worth a total of $ 36.2 billion, a modest drop of 0.4 percent. Five of the companies reported growth, five losses.