The World's biggest arms exporters exposed – where does the UK rank?

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Despite COVID-19 causing a global economic contraction, the international arms industry appears to have been immune. Statistics gathered by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reflect arms exporters have only increased sales in the period of 2017-2021 compared to the four years before – but one particular exporter remains the biggest globally.

The arms industry is a global industry which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology, mainly for the armed forces of states.

It is composed of a commercial industry involved in the research and development, engineering, production, and servicing of military material, equipment, and facilities.

Products include guns, ammunition, missiles, military aircraft, military vehicles, ships, electronic systems, and more.

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Who are the world’s biggest arms dealers?

According to research conducted by the SIPRI, the United States remains the world’s largest arms exporter.

The US is currently responsible for 38.6 percent of international arms sales between 2017 and 2021, an increase from 32.2 percent between 2012 and 2016.

During the most recent time span, the country supplied arms to more than 100 countries, with major deals including the sale of Apache attack helicopters to India, a deal to significantly increase Morocco’s F-16 fighter jet fleet, as well as an agreement to supply Patriot missile systems to Poland and Romania.

Germany was overtaken as the fourth-biggest exporter by China, which revived international sales over this period and accounted for 4.6 percent of global arms exports.

Italy and South Korea also rose in the ranking compared to last year, coming in at 3.1 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, while the United Kingdom sits comfortably in between these countries with exports amounting to 2.9 percent.

Italy’s biggest importer is Egypt, however, sales in 2021 rose most to Qatar, Turkey and Kuwait.

A major sale between South Korea and Indonesia upped South Korea’s export figure a margin.

Who are the world’s biggest arms importers?

According to the SIPRI report, India has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest arms importer between 2017-2021, amounting to 11 percent of imports.

Egypt ranks third accounting for 5.8 percent of global arms trade, followed by Australia with 5.4 percent and China with figures around 4.7 percent.



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