Russia becomes world's second-largest arms producer: analysis

Russia was the world’s second-largest arms producer in 2017, behind only the United States, international researchers said Monday.

In its annual list of top 100 arms producers, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said sales from Russian companies totaled $37.7 billion in 2017.

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That was enough to knock the United Kingdom off the No. 2 spot, a place it had held 2002. U.K. sales were $35.7 billion, according to the report.

“Russian companies have experienced significant growth in their arms sales since 2011,” Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher with SIPRI’s arms and military expenditure program, said in the report. “This is in line with Russia’s increased spending on arms procurement to modernize its armed forces.”

The United States, though, remained the top arms producer in the world by far, with $226.6 billion in sales, according to the report. That accounts for 57 percent of the top 100’s total sales.

Forty-two U.S. companies were in the top 100, with five placing in the top 10.

“U.S. companies directly benefit from the U.S. Department of Defense’s ongoing demand for weapons,” Aude Fleurant, director of SIPRI’s arms and military expenditure program, said in the report.

The top company was again Lockheed Martin, with arms sales of $44.9 billion. The No. 2 company, Boeing, trailed Lockheed by $18 billion, up from an $11 billion gap in 2016.

Chinese companies are not included in the report because of a lack of available data.

Other notable developments highlighted in the report include a significant increase in Turkish arms sales. Sales by Turkish companies rose 24 percent in 2017, according to the report.

“This significant increase reflects Turkey’s ambitions to develop its arms industry to fulfill its growing demand for weapons and become less dependent on foreign suppliers,” Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with SIPRI’s arms and military expenditure, said in the report.