The SIPRI programme on arms production was initiated in 1989 to study developments in the arms industry. The programme collects information on the major arms-producing companies and describes and analyses their adjustment to the changed economic and political context and the resulting changes in industrial structures.
Important changes are still taking place in the international arms industry, although the post-cold war restructuring of the international arms industry has shown some signs of subsiding. Current developments in the arms industry include the increasing concentration and internationalization of production, the increasing importance of IT and electronics companies within the defence sector and the outsourcing of functions that were once carried out within the military establishment.
A marked development in the arms industry over the past twenty years, which has accelerated as a result of the Iraq war, is the growing importance of companies providing military services, as distinct from military equipment.