Wednesday

1st Feb 2023

EU arms trade booming despite crisis

Firms in the UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Europe's own European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company made around €75 billion from selling weapons in 2010.

In broader terms, the world arms trade is booming and has increased turnover by 147 percent since 2002, with companies based in western Europe and North America leading the sector.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The global financial crisis has done nothing to curb arms sales (Photo: Wikipedia)

In 2010 - two years after the eruption of the global financial crisis - some €305.6 billion of arms and weapons were sold on international markets according to a report released on Monday (27 February) by Swedish arms control NGO, the Stockholm International Research Institute (Sipri).

"The data for 2010 demonstrates, once again, the major players' ability to continue selling arms and military services despite the financial crises currently affecting other industries," Sirpi's Susan Jackson said.

Some companies did register a drop in sales.

"Change is likely not due to the financial crisis but rather because of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and the subsequent expected decrease in related equipment sales," she added.

The Sipri covers industrialised states in the Paris-based OECD club and many developing countries. China and some others, like Kazakhstan and Ukraine, are not included due to lack of reliable information.

Leading the list are companies based in the United States, UK, Italy and France, but the NGO suspects that China would also make the top ranking if data was available.

US firm Lockheed Martin ranks first. It sold around €26 billion of aircraft, electronics, missiles and military satellite defense systems in 2010, up from €24.5 billion in 2009.

Lockheed is currently developing the fifth generation of the F-35 jet fighter along with US-based Northrop Gumman and the UK's BAE Systems.

"The F-35 is expected to be one of the largest military aircraft programmes in history, including thousands of aircraft to be produced for world air forces over several decades," says Lockheed's website says.

Upon completion, the United States alone intends to purchase almost 2,500 F-35s, costing some €240 billion. At peak production, Lockheed says it will be able to manufacture around 20 F-35s per month.

BAE Systems ranks second on the Sipri list. In 2010, it sold €24.3 billion of missiles, military vehicles, small arms and ammunition, up from €24.1 billion in 2009.

"BAE Systems has delivered a robust underlying performance in a challenging business environment," BAE Systems chief executive Ian King said on 16 February.

King added that the company intends to expand its cyber and electronics business and to develop its military services sector.

The Sipri report points out that 48 percent of the firm's total sales were generated in the services market - including systems support, training, logistics, maintenance, repair and overhaul.

EU firms join gold rush on drones

EU firms have joined the gold rush on military and civilian unmanned aerial vehicles - drones. But ethical and legal questions dog the technology.

Column

Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?

Countries that were once democratising are now moving in the other direction — think of Turkey, Myanmar, Hungary or Tunisia. On the other hand, in autocracies mass mobilisation rarely succeeds in changing political institutions. Think of Belarus, Iran or Algeria.

EU lobby register still riddled with errors

The EU's lobby register remains riddled with errors, with pro-transparency campaigners demanding better data and mandatory rules. The latest findings come amid a raft of proposals by the European Parliament president to weed out corruption in the wake of Qatargate.

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.

Opinion

More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies

Industrial energy-intense sectors, outside Germany and France, will not move to the US. They will go bust, as they cannot compete in a fragmented single market. So to save industry in two member states, we will kill the rest?

Latest News

  1. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  2. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  3. EU lobby register still riddled with errors
  4. Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk
  5. More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies
  6. Study: EU electricity transition sped into high gear in 2022
  7. Russia and China weaponised pandemic to sow distrust, MEPs hear
  8. Frontex to spend €100m on returning migrants this year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us