The World’s Top 25 Arms Producers in 2019

The global arms industry is one of the world largest industries in the world. The industry comprises of weapons manufacturers and military service companies. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published their latest report on arms producers earlier this week. According to the study the US accounted for the largest arms sales in 2019. China overtook Russia to become the 2nd largest seller of arms. US arms giant Lockheed Martin (LMT) recorded the largest revenue growth at 11 percent or $5.1 billion in absolute figures.

Below is an excerpt from the report:

New data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that arms sales by the world’s 25 largest arms-producing and military services companies (arms companies) totalled US$361 billion in 2019. This represents an 8.5 per cent increase in real terms over the arms sales of the top 25 arms companies in 2018.

US companies still dominate, Middle East represented in top 25 for the first time

In 2019 the top five arms companies were all based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. These five together registered $166 billion in annual arms salesIn total, 12 US companies appear in the top 25 for 2019, accounting for 61 per cent of the combined arms sales of the top 25.

For the first time, a Middle Eastern firm appears in the top 25 ranking. EDGE, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was created in 2019 from the merger of more than 25 smaller companies. It ranks at number 22 and accounted for 1.3 per cent of total arms sales of the top 25.

‘EDGE is a good illustration of how the combination of high national demand for military products and services with a desire to become less dependent on foreign suppliers is driving the growth of arms companies in the Middle East,’ said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

Another newcomer in the top 25 in 2019 was L3Harris Technologies (ranked 10th). It was created through the merger of two US companies that were both in the top 25 in 2018: Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies.

Chinese arms companies’ sales increase, Russian companies’ sales fall

The top 25 also includes four Chinese companies. Three are in the top 10: Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC; ranked 6th), China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC; ranked 8th) and China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO; ranked 9th). The combined revenue of the four Chinese companies in the top 25—which also include China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC; ranked 24th)—grew by 4.8 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

Reflecting on the rise in the arms sales of Chinese companies, SIPRI Senior Researcher Nan Tian said: ‘Chinese arms companies are benefiting from military modernization programmes for the People’s Liberation Army.’

The revenues of the two Russian companies in the top 25—Almaz-Antey and United Shipbuilding—both decreased between 2018 and 2019, by a combined total of $634 million. A third Russian company, United Aircraft, lost $1.3 billion in sales and dropped out of the top 25 in 2019.

Alexandra Kuimova, Researcher at SIPRI, said: ‘Domestic competition and reduced government spending on fleet modernization were two of the main challenges for United Shipbuilding in 2019.’

Source:  Global arms industry: Sales by the top 25 companies up 8.5 per cent; Big players active in Global South. SIPRI

The following infographic shows the top 25 arms producers in 2019 identified in the SIPRI report:

Click to enlarge


Source: RFE/RL Infographics

Some of the listed firms in the above graphic include:

  • Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT)
  • Boeing Co (BA)
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC)
  • General Dynamics Corporation (GD)
  • L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (LHX)

In 2019, Raytheon and United Technologies merged to create Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX). Similarly Harris Technologies, Inc and L3 Technologies merged to become L3Harris Technologies Inc.

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