The United States and Russia remain the world’s top weapons merchants, according to the latest report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The US has accounted for 34% of global arms sales over the past five years, followed by Russia, with just over 20% of all global arms deliveries.
US arms were supplied or sold to 98 different countries around the world, with a large portion of American exports consisting of combat and transport aircraft, said SIPRI.
The research group said Russia exported weapons to 47 countries as well as to rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists are fighting the central government in Kiev.
Overall, however, Russian arms sales fell by 7% from the previous five-year period a possible indicator that Moscow has focused more on re-arming and re-equipping its own armed forces over international sales.
France is Europe’s main exporter over the last half-decade, placing third on the list with a 6.7% of the world’s overall arms sales. Rounding out the top five were Germany and China at numbers four and five, respectively.
SIPRI said it uses a five-year cycle to evaluate global arms sales to even out abnormalities caused by a single large weapons order during a specific year.
Few countries outside North America and Europe are large exporters of arms. China was the fifth largest arms exporter in 2013–17, with exports rising 38% between 2008–12 and 2013–17.
While Pakistan was the main recipient of China’s arms exports in 2013–17, there were large increases in Chinese arms exports to Algeria and Bangladesh in that period. Israel (55%), South Korea (65%) and Turkey (145%) substantially increased their respective arms exports between 2008–12 and 2013–17.
Nearly half of US arms exports over the past five years have gone to the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia – the only official Wahabbist state on Earth – as the world’s second-biggest importer of American arms.
German arms exports to the Middle East grew significantly, increasing by 109%.
Imports by states in Europe decreased by 22% between 2008–12 and 2013–17, but deliveries of advanced combat aircraft from the US will drive import volumes up during the next few years.