NATO member states dominate global arms sales

Companies based in NATO member states continue to dominate global arms sales, according to new data released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Companies headquartered in the United States and Western Europe have dominated SIPRI’s list of Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies since 2002. And, this was again the case for 2015: with sales reaching $305.4 billion, companies based in the USA and Western Europe accounted for 82.4 per cent of the Top 100 arms sales.

Within NATO, the USA is the dominant player with total arms sales amounting to $209.7 billion for 2015. Arms sales by US companies in the Top 100 decreased by 2.9 per cent compared with 2014—the fifth consecutive year of decline. Lockheed Martin remains the largest arms producer in the world, although a number of new, smaller US companies have consolidated and have built up sufficient revenue to rank in the Top 100 for 2015, including CSRA, Engility and Pacific Architects and Engineers.

Arms sales by companies in Western Europe listed in the SIPRI Top 100 for 2015 rose by 6.6 per cent in real terms compared with 2014, with total combined revenues from arms sales amounting to $95.7 billion. This increase contrasts with the notable drop in West European companies’ revenues from arms sales recorded between 2013 and 2014. Increases in sales by French and German companies listed in the Top 100 were the main driver for this recent growth in arms sales in Western Europe.

There was also continued growth in sales by the Russian arms industry. The combined arms sales of the 11 Russian companies in the 2015 Top 100 reached $30.1 billion, representing 8.1 per cent of the total Top 100 arms sales for 2015 and an increase of 6.2 per cent compared with 2014. The Russian military modernization programme is the main driver for increased sales by Russian companies.

 Overall, the sales of arms and military services companies in the SIPRI Top 100 have fallen for the fifth consecutive year. However, at only a 0.6 per cent decline, the slight decrease may signal a possible reversal of the downward sales trend observed since 2011.