By Lennart Simonsson / Deutsche Presse-Agentur
STOCKHOLM — Sales of military equipment and services by the world’s top 100 arms groups in 2016 rose by 1.9 percent to almost 375 billion dollars, a Sweden-based research institute said Monday.
The increase in global arms sales was the first in five years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said.
The institute also concluded that defense companies in the United States and Western Europe kept their dominant positions.
Of the top 100 global defense companies, 63 were based in the U.S. and Western Europe. They accounted for over 82 percent of global sales in 2016, the most recent year covered by the institute and in line with their share in 2015.
Lockheed Martin — one of the 38 U.S. companies on the list — kept its position as the world’s largest arms seller with sales of $40.8 billion, a 10 percent increase from 2015.
U.S. rival Boeing was second at $29.5 billion, while another U.S.-based company, Raytheon, was in third place at $22.9 billion.
The combined sales of U.S.-based companies totaled $217 billion, an increase of 4 percent. The institute said that was driven by “U.S. military operations overseas and acquisitions of large weapon systems by other countries.”
Lockheed Martin was boosted by the 2015 takeover of helicopter maker Sikorsky and “higher delivery volumes of the F-35 combat aircraft,” Aude Fleurant, head of the institutes arms and military expenditure program said in a statement.
Sales by companies based in Western Europe were “stable,” with combined sales of $91.6 billion.
Sales by the eight British companies in the top 100 grew almost 10 percent, while the six main French companies recorded a slight decrease of 0.8 percent that the institute to a slowdown in deliveries of a fighter aircraft made by Dassault.
The 10 largest arms makers — all based in the U.S. or Western Europe — accounted for half of global sales in 2016.
Russian companies accounted for 7.1 percent of total sales. The top Russian seller was United Aircraft Corporation with sales of $5.2 billions, in 13th place overall.
The 10 listed Russian companies had combined sales of $26.6 billion. The increase of 3.8 percent was slightly less than in recent years, possibly because of lower oil and gas prices, the institute said.
Companies in South Korea reported strong growth of 20 percent. Seven Korean companies were on the top 100 list and the country was “increasingly turning to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons,” institute researcher Siemon Wezeman said.
Sales of arms by Brazil and Turkey also grew, while there was a slight decline companies in India.
Because of a lack of data, Chinese companies were not included in the list. Based on Chinese defense spending that almost tripled from 2002 to 2016, the institute estimated that at least nine Chinese companies, including aircraft maker AVIC, could have been included on the list.