The independent resource on global security

Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2022

Imports of major arms by European states rose by 47 per cent between 2013–17 and 2018–22, while the global volume of international arms transfers fell by 5.1 per cent. There were decreases in arms transfers to Africa (–40 per cent), the Americas (–21 per cent), Asia and Oceania (–7.5 per cent) and the Middle East (–8.8 per cent) between the two periods. The five largest arms importers in 2018–22 were India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia and China. The five largest arms exporters were the United States, Russia, France, China and Germany.

The war in Ukraine had only a limited impact on the total volume of arms transfers in 2018–22, but Ukraine did become a major importer of arms in 2022. In addition, most European states substantially increased their arms import orders and the war will have significant ramifications for future supplier–recipient arms trade relations globally.

From 13 March 2023 the freely accessible SIPRI Arms Transfers Database includes updated data on transfers of major arms for 1950–2022, which replaces all previous data on arms transfers published by SIPRI. Based on the new data, this fact sheet presents global trends in arms exports and arms imports, and highlights selected issues related to transfers of major arms.


Pieter D. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Justine Gadon was a Research Assistant with the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
Siemon T. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.