(Stockholm, 11 March 2019) 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) at www.sipri.org.
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.
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. Israeli,
arms exports increased substantially—60 per cent, 94 per cent and 170 per cent,
respectively—between 2009–13 and 2014–18.
Middle Eastern arms
imports almost double in the past five years
Arms imports by states in the Middle East increased by 87 per cent between
2009–13 and 2014–18 and accounted for 35 per cent of global arms imports in
2014–18. Saudi Arabia
became the world’s largest arms importer in 2014–18, with an increase of 192
per cent compared with 2009–13. Arms imports by Egypt, the third largest arms importer in
2014–18, tripled (206 per cent) between 2009–13 and 2014–18. Arms imports
(354 per cent), Qatar
(225 per cent) and Iraq
(139 per cent) also rose between 2009–13 and 2014–18. However, Syria’s arms imports
fell by 87 per cent.
‘Weapons from the USA, the United Kingdom and France are in
high demand in the Gulf region, where conflicts and tensions are rife,’ says
Pieter D. Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military
Expenditure Programme. ‘Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their
arms sales to Egypt in the past five years.’
Asia and Oceania remains
the largest importer region
States in Asia and Oceania received 40 per cent of global arms imports in
2014–18, but there was a decrease of 6.7 per cent compared with 2009–13. The
top five arms importers in the region were India, Australia, China, South Korea
and Viet Nam.
Australia became the world’s fourth largest arms importer in 2014–18
after its arms imports increased by 37 per cent compared with 2009–13. Indian arms imports
decreased by 24 per cent between 2009–13 and 2014–18. Russia accounted for
58 per cent of India’s arms imports in 2014–18. Chinese arms imports decreased, but it was
still the world’s sixth largest arms importer in 2014–18.
‘India has ordered a large number of major arms from foreign
suppliers; however, deliveries are severely delayed in many cases,’ says Siemon
T. Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure
Programme. ‘In contrast, Chinese arms imports decreased because China has been
more successful in designing and producing its own modern weaponry.’
Other notable developments
• Between 2009–13 and 2014–18 arms imports decreased by states in the Americas (–36 per cent),
(–13 per cent), and in Africa
(–6.5 per cent).
accounted for 56 per cent of African imports of major arms in 2014–18. Most
other states in Africa
import very few major arms.
• The top five arms importers in sub-Saharan Africa were Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, Cameroon and Senegal. Together, they
accounted for 56 per cent of arms imports to the subregion.
• Between 2009–13 and 2014–18 British
arms exports increased by 5.9 per cent. In 2014–18 a total of 59 per cent of
British arms exports went to the Middle East, the vast bulk of which was made
up of deliveries of combat aircraft to Saudi
Arabia and Oman.
arms imports fell by 83 per cent between 2009–13 and 2014–18.
• China delivered major arms to 53 countries
in 2014–18, compared with 41 in 2009–13 and 32 in 2004–2008. Pakistan was the main
recipient (37 per cent) in 2014–18, as it has been for all five-year periods
The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all international transfers of major arms (including sales, gifts and production licences) to states, international organizations and armed non-state groups from 1950 to the most recent full calendar year, 2018. SIPRI data reflects the volume of deliveries of arms, not the financial value of the deals. As the volume of deliveries can ﬂuctuate signiﬁcantly year-on-year, SIPRI presents data for five-year periods, giving a more stable measure of trends.
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.