The arms industry is good business

Germany - fourth largest arms exporter in the world

The armaments business is booming: the global arms trade grew by 7.8 percent in the period 2014 to 2018 compared to the years 2009 to 2013, as the Stockholm peace research institute Sipri announced. The main reasons are arms deliveries to the Middle East, but also to Asia and Oceania.

The largest exporters were the USA, Russia, France, Germany and China. Together, the five countries represent 75 percent of all international arms deliveries in the past five years.

US exports alone account for 36 percent of the world's arms trade. "The US has further consolidated its position as the world's leading arms supplier," says Sipri weapons expert Aude Fleurant. They have delivered weapons such as fighter jets, short-range missiles and guided bombs to at least 98 countries and thus to far more states than other exporters.

Export hits are US fighter jets, here an F-22 'Raptor'

In view of the number of orders for fighter jets, it can be assumed that these will remain the export hits of the US arms industry in the near future. At the end of 2018, 891 fighter jets were on the US order lists.

Interest in German ships and submarines

On the export side, Russia again takes second place behind the USA, albeit with a growing gap. Among other things, because of the decline in orders from India and Venezuela, Russian exports fell by 17 percent compared to the same period from 2009 to 2013, said the Stockholm Institute.

Above all, submarines such as the U32 are in high demand from Germany

In contrast, French (43 percent) and German (13 percent) exports grew by double digits. Germany's main customers were South Korea, Greece and Israel, and there was particular interest in German ships and submarines. China, in fifth place among exporters, recorded moderate growth of 2.7 percent.

Saudi Arabia replaces India as the main customer

On the other side of trade, the Middle Eastern countries have increased their imports of armaments by a whopping 87 percent. The main reasons for this are the mutual distrust between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the other, as well as the Yemen war.

French Leclerc tanks in action in Saudi Arabia in 2017

Weapons from the USA, Great Britain and France are in great demand in the conflict-ridden and tense Gulf region, said Sipri specialist Pieter Wezeman. According to Sipri, Saudi Arabia alone has increased its imports by 192 percent, replacing India as the largest arms importer. It is followed by Egypt, Australia and Algeria.

Berlin receives fewer export permits

In November 2018, the German government stopped all arms exports to Saudi Arabia in response to the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the government.

After the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Germany stopped arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas recently linked the lifting of the delivery ban to progress in the peace process for Yemen.

This was the third year in a row that the German armaments industry had to accept a decrease in export licenses. The last time there was growth was in 2015. Before the export ban imposed in November, export permits worth 416 million euros for Saudi Arabia were issued in 2018. In the same year, permits in the three-digit million range were also issued for Algeria and Pakistan.

"Sold" - Leopard tanks from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann at an arms fair in the United Arab Emirates

The Sipri researchers are concerned with long-term international trends in their annual reports; their values ​​are measured according to the volume, not the financial value, of arms deals.

cw / gri (afp, dpa, epd)