21 Feb 2011: Top global arms industry increases arms sales despite ongoing recession, says SIPRI

(Stockholm, 21 February 2011) Despite the continuing global economic recession in 2009, the total arms sales of the SIPRI Top 100 of the world’s largest arms-producing companies increased by $14.8 billion from 2008 to reach $401 billion, a real increase of 8 per cent, according to new data on international arms production released today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Read the Swedish version here and the French version here.

With e total arms sales of the SIPRI Top 100 maintained the upward trend in their arms sales, an increase of a total of 59 per cent in real terms since 2002.

Arms sales of the Top 10 arms-producing companies approached  $228 billion, which is 56.9 per cent of the SIPRI Top 100 total arms sales in 2009.

‘US government spending on military goods and services is a key factor in arms sales increases for US arms-producing and military services companies and for Western European companies with a foothold in the US arms and military services market,’ states SIPRI arms industry expert Dr Susan Jackson.

Major regional differences
Of the SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing companies, 78 are based in the United States and Western Europe. These companies generated $368 billion in total arms sales, which is 91.7 per cent of the total arms sales of the SIPRI Top 100 arms producers in 2009.

The following describes the breakdown of the SIPRI Top 100 in the USA and Western Europe.

  • 45 of the SIPRI Top 100 are based in the USA. These companies generated just under $247 billion in total arms sales, which is 61.5 per cent of the SIPRI Top 100 arms sales.
  • 33 of the SIPRI Top 100 are based in nine Western European countries (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK). These companies generated $120 billion in total arms sales, which is 30 per cent of the SIPRI Top 100  arms sales.
  • 26 of the top Western European arms producers are based primarily in four countries: France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.
  • Ten of the SIPRI Top 100 are based in Asia (3 in India, 4 in Japan, 1 in Singapore, 2 in South Korea), excluding China, and 5 in the Middle East (3 in Israel, 1 in Kuwait, 1 in Turkey). The SIPRI Top 100 companies in these two regions generated $24 billion in combined arms sales, which is 6 per cent of the SIPRI Top 100 arms sales in 2009.
  • None of the companies in the SIPRI Top 100 in 2009 are based in Latin America or Africa.


The SIPRI Arms Industry Database

The SIPRI Arms Industry Database was created in 1989. It contains financial and employment data on arms-producing companies in the OECD and developing countries (except China). Since 1990, SIPRI has published data on the arms sales and employment of the 100 largest of these arms-producing companies in the SIPRI Yearbook.

Figures for a country or region refer to the arms sales of the SIPRI Top 100 companies headquartered in that country or region, including those in its foreign subsidiaries. They do not reflect the sales of arms actually produced in that country or region.

Arms sales are defined by SIPRI as sales of military goods and services to military customers, including both sales for domestic procurement and sales for export.

This is the first of a series of three major data sets pre-launches, before SIPRI's Yearbook is published in June. On 14 March, SIPRI will release its international arms transfers data (details of all international sales, transfers and gifts of major weapons in 2010) and on 11 April, its world military expenditure data (comprehensive information on global, regional and national trends in military spending). Finally, on 7 June, SIPRI will launch its 2011 Yearbook (cutting-edge information and analysis on the state of the world's nuclear forces, the international peacekeeping agenda and steps to control WMD as well as a feature on corruption in the international arms trade).

For information and interview requests contact Stephanie Blenckner (blenckner@sipri.org, +46 8 655 97 47) or Claire Fanchini (fanchini@sipri.org, +46 8 655 97 87).

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