US, Russia largest arms exporters in 2012-2016, says SIPRI study
A Journal of People report
The biggest arms exporter in the world is the US, well ahead of Russia, and the main customers are in Asia and the Middle East, says SIPRI, the leading peace research institute. The institute has provided new data on the international arms trade. The SIPRI report focuses only on heavy weapons.
Data show 14 percent more arms were exported worldwide in the last five years than the five years preceding those, and the majority of worldwide arms exports went to Asia and crisis zones in the Middle East.According to SIPRI, the US continued to be the leader in global arms exports over the last five years with a one-third share of global arms exports. US arms exports increased by 21 percent compared with the period of 2007-2011 and almost half of its arms exports went to the Middle East.
“The USA supplies major arms to at least 100 countries around the world — significantly more than any other supplier state. Both advanced strike aircraft with cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions and the latest generation air and missile defence systems account for a significant share of US arms exports,” Aude Fleurant, the director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, said as quoted in the press release.
# Between 2011 and 2015 France, Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy together controlled one-fifth of the worldwide transfer of weapons. France’s exports dropped by almost 10 percent in this period while German arms exports halved.
# Russia retains its second place in the ranking, and its share in global arms exports stands at about one-fourth or 23 percent.
# India, Vietnam, China and Algeria are the main buyers of the Russian weapons as 70 percent of Russian arms exports went to these four states during the period.
# Other three leading countries in SIPRI’s ranking of global weapons exports are China, France and Germany.
# China’s share of global arms exports rose from 3.8 to 6.2 percent over the past ten years while France and Germany accounted for 6 percent and 5.6 percent in 2012-2016, respectively.
# The majority of the exported arms went to Asia and to the Middle East. Imports of heavy weapons rose by 61 percent in the region between the Persian Gulf and the Bosphorus.
# Between 2011 and 2015, India was the only country to import more weapons that Saudi Arabia. Compared with 2006–2010, the oil sheikhdom’s arms purchases have almost trebled.
# Number four in the list of the biggest importers of arms is the United Arab Emirates.
# Turkey is number six in the area.
# Mexico’s imports of heavy weapons have more than trebled in the past few years compared to 2006–2010, which is a consequence of the drug war. The drug war has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives over the past 10 years.
# More than half the arms imported into Africa are brought in by just two countries: Morocco and Algeria.
# Sub-Saharan Africa was not a very significant market for heavy weapons because of its predominantly weak economies.
# The USA has been constantly replenishing supplies in the Middle Eastern crisis region in particular. Its most important customer was Saudi Arabia; the UAE was in second place, followed by Turkey.
# A quarter of global arms exports come from Russia. Its most important customers were in India, China and Vietnam.
# China has almost doubled its arms exports, up 88 percent compared to 2006–2010. It now has an almost 6 percent share of the international arms trade, putting it at number three, ahead of France, and has established itself on the international arms market as an important producer.
# Chinese military equipment goes primarily to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, but China is also trying to gain a toehold as an arms supplier in Africa.
Some European states simply don’t have the money for expensive equipment, finds a SIPRI arms trade expert. That in turn increased the pressure on the European arms industry to open up new markets. The SIPRI arms trade expert observed that Germany in particular was aggressively trying to sell its weapons systems in places like the Middle East and Asia.