Despite supply chain problems caused by the corona pandemic, global arms sales continued to rise last year. In 2021, the 100 largest arms companies in the world sold 592 billion dollars (about 562 billion euros) in heavy weapons and military services.
This is according to a report published on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
This is an increase of 1.9% over the previous year. However, this growth was heavily impacted by widespread supply chain issues. “The lasting impact of the pandemic is really starting to be felt in arms companies,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at SIPRI and co-author of the report. Labor shortages and raw material supply issues have “stifled companies’ ability to manufacture and deliver weapons systems on time,” the report said. This may result in slower growth than many expected, the researchers write.
Effect war in Ukraine
Additionally, supply issues are expected to be exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, in part because “Russia is a major supplier of raw materials for weapons production,” the report’s authors said. In addition, the conflict has also led to an increase in demand. However, it is currently difficult to estimate the magnitude of this growing demand. According to Nan Tian, it depends both on the need of countries that have supplied weapons to Ukraine to replenish their own stockpiles and on the deterioration of the security environment.
According to SIPRI data, the vast majority of defense equipment continues to come from US companies. The forty US companies on the list together account for 51% of all arms sales of the top 100 companies. China follows in second place, with a share that has risen sharply to 18%. Next come Great Britain (6.8%) and France (4.9%).
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