US sold most weapons last year, Russia distant second: SIPRI
Tehran (KNA) - American weapons makers continue to dominate the global arms trade, accounting for over half of all the weapons sold in the world last year while Russia continued to gradually expand its market, a new study shows.
The new international arms industry data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday showed that global weapons sales reached $398.2 billion last year.
Raking in the highest profits were 42 American companies with overall sales of $226.6 billion, a whopping 57 percent of all arms deals signed by the world’s Top 100 arms makers. That’s a two-percent increase in sales compared to 2016.
The US-based company Lockheed Martin remained on top of the 100 largest military companies, with sales amounting to $44 billion -- no other company in the industry could get close.
In comparison, Germany's largest defense group, Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall AG, didn’t even sell a tenth of that amount. With total sales capping out at $3.4 billion, Rheinmetall only ranked 25th on the list.
According to SIPRI, Lockheed Martin’s success was largely due to the US military’s need for newer and more advanced weapon systems, including the F-35 Lightning stealth warplanes and the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The company is also working with the Pentagon to come up with a response to China and Russia’s plans to develop an expensive "hypersonic missile"that can easily bypass conventional missile defense systems.
"US companies directly benefit from the US Department of Defense’s ongoing demand for weapons," wrote Aude Fleurant, the director of SIPRI's Arms and Military Expenditure Program.
Boeing was the world's second-largest arms manufacturer during the same period, having enjoyed a boost in sales after US President Donald Trump commissioned the company to build two Air Force One jets for his travels under a $3.9 billion contract.
The American head of state has repeatedly called for increasing the military spending and renovating America's weapons.