The 10 largest arms exporting countries in the world

At a global level, the arms market is worth more than 2 trillion dollars and is growing sharply, year after year.

At a global level, the arms market is worth more than 2 trillion dollars and is growing sharply, year after year: just think that in the decade 2011-2020 the overall military spending of all the countries in the world increased by 9.3%, with China recording a +76% in the same period.

Since 1950, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), an independent institute dedicated to research on conflicts, armaments and disarmament, has monitored the arms market. Here is the world’s top ten arms exporting states: the first five absorb 77% of all global exports and the data refers to the five-year period 2017-2021.

1. United States

The United States is obviously the nation that exports the most arms in the world. Stars and Stripes accounted for 38.6% of global arms exports, up (+6.4%) compared to the previous five years. During the last period of time, the United States has supplied weapons to more than 100 countries.

The largest beneficiary, by secondment, is Saudi Arabia. But US companies have done excellent business, in the same area of the world, including with Kuwait and Qatar. Without forgetting Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

2. Russia

In second place is Russia, with 18.6% of the global share. And increasingly decreasing, year after year. However, Russian companies can count on two real giants as customers: first India and then China. Sales in Egypt and Algeria were consistent, although decreasing.

3. France

The third world weapons superpower is France: 10.7%. The French have the Middle East as their favorite market, with Kuwait and Qatar among the main buyers. France, like Russia, also exports many of its weapons to India and Egypt.

4. China

The last five years has seen China overtake Germany, albeit by very little. Chinese weapons, which represent 4.6% of global exports, largely end up in Pakistan, a state that must “answer” to India. Business with Nigeria is always excellent. Among China’s new customers are Bangladesh, Myanmar, Tanzania, Djibouti.

5. Germany

Germany lost fourth place to China by a whisker, given that its market share is equal to 4.5% of global arms exports. The Germans, who supply submarines in particular to Asia and Oceania, have Egypt as their main customer.

6. Italy

In sixth place in the ranking of arms exporting states is Italy, with 3.1% of the world share. As with Germany, Italy’s largest partner is Egypt. But during 2021, sales increased most in Qatar, Türkiye and Kuwait. Good deals also with Turkmenistan. Italy buys almost exclusively from the United States and only in a very small part from Germany, Israel and France.

7. United Kingdom

Behind Italy in the ranking is the United Kingdom, which sells its weapons mainly in the Middle East and in particular in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But also in the former colony India. The UK share is 2.9%.

8. South Korea

South Korea is in eighth place in this ranking, with 2.8%. The main customer of South Korean companies is the Philippines. Followed by India and Indonesia, then Norway and New Zealand.

9. Spain

In ninth place in the ranking of arms exporters we find Spain with 2.5% of the global share. Spanish weapons end up mainly in Australia, then in Belgium and the United States.

10. Israel

Israel closes the top ten in global arms exports: 2.4 percent. Obviously, it does not sell to Arab countries: Israel’s main customer is India, with the United States clearly in second place.

Read also: Where are the American military bases located and how many are there in the world?

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