SIPRI: Business as Usual? Arms Sales of Top 100 Arms Companies continue to Grow amid Pandemic


Sales of arms and military services by the industry’s 100 largest companies totalled 470 billion euros ($531 billion) in 2020—an increase of 1.3 per cent in real terms compared with the previous year. This is according to new data released today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The international arms trade was not affected by the Corona pandemic last year. Calculations by the Swedish peace institute SIPRI show that the sector grew for the sixth year in a row. In 2020, the turnover of the hundred largest manufacturers rose by 1.3 percent to more than 470 billion euros. The institute notes that the global economy actually shrank by 3.1 percent.

Among the largest weapons manufacturers, the US still dominates: in the top 100 are 41 American companies, including the entire top-5. These companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman account for 54 percent of the total amount of defense revenue.

China and Russia

China is number two with five companies, with 13 percent of the total. Great Britain remains third. The nine companies from Russia are at a loss for the third year: the share fell by 6.5 percent. The reason for this is the end of a major investment round by the Kremlin and delivery problems due to the pandemic.

SIPRI was founded in 1966 to investigate conflicts worldwide and advocate for disarmament. Since 1989, it keeps track of how much is annually spent worldwide on arms production by countries. Read more at SIPRI website.

About the SIPRI Arms Industry Database

The SIPRI Arms Industry Database was created in 1989. The current version contains data from 2002. For the purposes of this press release, Russian companies are discussed separately from European companies. Five Chinese companies are included in the database from 2015 onwards. Other Chinese companies may have arms sales high enough to rank among the Top 100, but there is insufficient data to include them in the ranking.