While the biggest arms companies recorded a slump in sales during 2012, Russian companies posted sharp increases, noted the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its latest data on international arms production released on Friday.
Despite the slump, seven US companies remained amongst the world's top ten entities in terms of 2012 arms sales, with Lockheed Martin emerging at top.
The list excluded China, about which SIPRI says:
"Although several Chinese arms-producing enterprises are large enough to rank among the SIPRI Top 100, it has not been possible to include them because of lack of comparable and sufficiently accurate data."
The global top 100 list had 42 companies from the US and six from Russia. The total sales of arms and military services by these hundred companies in 2012 amounted to no less than $395 billion.
"Sales by the 42 US-based arms producers amounted to 58 per cent of the total arms sales of the Top 100, with 30 companies based in Western Europe making up another 28 per cent of the total," SIPRI says.
The US-based Lockheed Martin was followed by Boeing (also US-based) and United Kingdom's BAE Systems on number three.
Japan, France and Italy were among the other big players in the list, which also features India's Hindustan Aeronautics and Bharat Electronics.
"This result represents a 4.2 per cent decrease in real terms compared to the companies in the Top 100 for 2011 and follows a 6.6 per cent decrease in that year. Arms sales by the Top 100 have nevertheless increased by 29 per cent in real terms since 2003," SIPRI said.
"However, the decrease in arms sales in 2012 was not uniform: while sales by companies in the United States, Canada and most West European countries continued to fall, arms sales by Russian companies increased sharply, by 28 per cent in real terms.
The share for companies outside North America and Western Europe has also been increasing since 2005 and, at 13.5 per cent, is at its highest point in the history of the Top 100"
US-based companies’ arms sales affected by Iraq withdrawal
"While these [US and Western Europe-based] companies still accounted for 87 per cent of the total arms sales, the decline in arms sales in these traditional producer regions echoes the decline in military spending, which began clearly in 2011. In particular, the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq at the end of 2011 had a significant effect on a number of companies."
Rapid rise in Russia due to domestic procurement plans
"Russian companies saw a particularly large increase in estimated arms sales in 2012. Of the 6 Russian companies in the Top 100, all except United Aircraft Corporation saw increases in excess of 20 per cent, and Almaz Antei—with a 41 per cent rise—now stands in 14th place in the Top 100, the highest position taken by a Russian company since data became available in 2002.
"Russian arms companies continue to maintain high export levels, but the increase in estimated arms sales in 2012 mainly reflects large and growing domestic sales, as part of Russia’s $700 billion 2011–20 State Armaments Plan. While there remains widespread scepticism as to whether the aims of the plan can be fully achieved, it is clear that a major increase in Russian military equipment procurement is taking place.
"‘The Russian arms industry is gradually re-emerging from the ruins of the Soviet industry’, said Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. ‘Nonetheless, the industry is still plagued by outdated equipment, inefficient organization and widespread corruption, which will continue to limit Russia’s ability to compete technologically with the West.’"
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