Home LanguageEnglish The Largest Arms Dealer, the United States Accounts for 59% of Global Arms Sales

The Largest Arms Dealer, the United States Accounts for 59% of Global Arms Sales

by Bertram Clark

The spike in sales was largely from the five largest US arms firms and made up 35 per cent of the sales from the 100 global companies.

Photo: Shutterstock

Stockholm, Sweden (Merxwire) – The world’s biggest arms manufacturers (excluding Chinese firms) at 420 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 4.6% from 2017 and 47% higher than in 2002, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) latest report on global arms industry rankings published in this week. 2018 is a year of growth in arms sales. The revenue changes of the top 100 arms companies in this table, 68% of the company’s revenues are positive growth.

The SIPRI report also revealed that 80 of the world’s 100 top arms producers were based in the US, Russia and Europe. Of the remaining 20, six were based in in Japan, three each in Israel, India and South Korea, respectively, two in Turkey and one each in Australia, Canada and Singapore.

Photo and data sheet via SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies, 2018

In 2018, the top five in the ranking were exclusively owned by arm companies in the U.S.: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. These five companies alone accounted for $148 billion and 35% of total Top 100 arms sales in 2018. Total arms sales of US companies in the ranking amounted to $246 billion, equivalent to 59 % of all arms sales by the Top 100. This is an increase of 7.2 % compared with 2017.

The combined arms sales of Russian companies accounted for 8.6 per cent of the Top 100 total, making Russia the second largest arms producer in the Top 100 in 2018. The combined arms sales of the 10 Russian companies in the 2018 ranking were $36.2 billion. “This increase was due not only to strong domestic demand, but also to continued growth in sales to other countries, particularly of the S-400 air defense system,” Alexandra Kuimova said, a researcher for SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program.

Significantly, the latest report did not include China due to “insufficient data” but SIPRI’s research estimated that at least seven Chinese companies would make it to the top 100 including three in the top 10 rankings of arms manufacturers. The SIPRI Arms Industry Database provides more detailed data sets for 2002-18, and you can get more detailed information on SIPRI’s website. 

Made in the USA is No.1 in the world: If you only compare arms industries

The top five spots in the ranking are held exclusively by arms companies based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. These five companies accounting for 35% of total Top 100 arms sales in 2018,” the report from SIPRI noted.

No.Top 15 manufacturing companiesTotal sales (US$ b.)
1 Toyota 265.2
2 VW 260.0
3 Apple 229.2
4 Samsung 211.9
5 Daimler 185.2
6 General Motors 157.3
7 Ford Motors 156.8
8 Hon Hai Precision Industry 154.7
9 Honda Motors 138.6
10 Fiat Chrysler Groupd 130.3
11 SAIC Motors 128.8
12 General Electric 122.3
13 BMW Group 111.2
14 Nissan Group 107.9
15 Boeing 93.4
Table 1. The top 15 manufacturing companies in the Fortune Global 500 in 2018.

No.Top 15 arms producersArms sales (US$ b.)
1Lockheed Martin Corp.265.2
3Northrop Grumman Corp.229.2
5General Dynamics Corp.185.2
6BAE Systems157.3
7Airbus Group156.8
11United Technologies Corp.128.8
12L3 Technologies122.3
13Huntington Ingalls Industries111.2
14Honeywell International107.9
15United Aircraft Corp.93.4
Table 2. The top 15 arms-producing and military services companies in the SIPRI Top 100 in 2018

TOYOTA sells more than 10 million cars a year, making it the No.1 manufacturer in the world. The automobile industry makes the country earn foreign exchange, the military industry helps the country to be strong. In 2018, the most notable increase is among U.S. arms companies, which increased sales by 7.2% and have taken over all five top spots among the world’s largest arms manufacturers.

Advanced combat aircraft accounted for more than half of all U.S. major arms exports over the last five years, nearly 900 orders in the pipeline, and will remain the main driving force for market share growth. Guided missiles accounted for 19 percent of U.S. major arms exports and the United States is the primary exporter of ballistic missile defense systems.


SIPRI official website

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