The volume of international transfers of major arms in 2014–18 was 7.8 per cent higher than in 2009–13 and 23 per cent higher than in 2004–2008, according to new data on arms transfers published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The ﬁve largest exporters in 2014–18 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. Together, they accounted for 75 per cent of the total volume of arms exports in 2014–18. The flow of arms increased to the Middle East between 2009–13 and 2014–18, while there was a decrease in flows to all other regions.
The gap between the USA and other arms exporters widens
US arms exports grew by 29 per cent between 2009–13 and 2014–18, and the US share of total global exports rose from 30 per cent to 36 per cent. The gap between the top two arms-exporting states also increased: US exports of major arms were 75 per cent higher than Russia’s in 2014–18, while they were only 12 per cent higher in 2009–13. More than half (52 per cent) of US arms exports went to the Middle East in 2014–18.
‘The USA has further solidified its position as the world’s leading arms supplier,’ says Dr Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘The USA exported arms to at least 98 countries in the past five years; these deliveries often included advanced weapons such as combat aircraft, short-range cruise and ballistic missiles, and large numbers of guided bombs.’
Arms exports by Russia decreased by 17 per cent between 2009–13 and 2014–18, in particular due to the reduction in arms imports by India and Venezuela. Between 2009–13 and 2014–18 France increased its arms exports by 43 per cent and Germany by 13 per cent. The combined arms exports of European Union member states accounted for 27 per cent of global arms exports in 2014–18.
The trend in international transfers of major weapons, 1979—2018. Data and graphic: SIPRI
A small number of countries outside Europe and North America are large arms exporters. China was the fifth largest arms exporter in 2014–18. Whereas Chinese arms exports rose by 195 per cent between 2004–2008 and 2009–13, they increased by only 2.7 per cent between 2009–13 and 2014–18.