Global arms sales and military services by major production companies, known as the SIPRI Top 100, amounted to 395 billion dollars in million in 2012, according to new data released this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Overall, the data indicates a 4.2% decrease in real terms compared to the sales of the Top 100 companies in 2011, when the figure had also dropped by 6.6%.. However, in real terms, there has been a 29% increase in weapons sales since the year 2003, largely due to a rapid increase in Russia.

Whilst weapons sales by companies in the United States, Canada and most of West Europe continued to fall, sales by Russian companies showed a dramatic 28% increase in real terms.

Sales figures are not available from China, but the percentage of companies outside North America and Western Europe has also grown since 2005 to 13.5%, the highest point in the history of the Top 100.

Of the 6 Russian companies in the Top 100, four of them saw increases in excess of 20%, one company, Almaz Antei, showing a 41% rise in sales, now standing in 14th place in the Top 100, previously at twenty second, the highest position taken by a Russian company since data became available in 2002.

“The Russian arms industry is gradually re-emerging from the ruins of the Soviet industry”, said Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. “Nonetheless, the industry is still plagued by outdated equipment, inefficient organization and widespread corruption, which will continue to limit Russia’s ability to compete technologically with the West.”

Sales by the 42 arms companies based in the United States accounted for 58% of total sales of the Top 100 weapons companies, whereas the 30 companies based in Western Europe are accountable for 28%. Collectively, the American and European involvement is accountable for 87% of total arms sales.

A reduction in conflict and general austerity is attributed to the decline in sales in the west. In particular, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq at the end of 2011 had a significant impact on a substantial number of companies. The biggest single drop in sales was shown by the KBR company, which provided logistical support to U.S. forces in Iraq, which suffered a 60% decline in sales.

American companies are still holding the top two positions in the charts, with Lockheed Martin and Boeing at numbers one and two respectively. The UK based BAE Systems comes in a third place, just ahead of Americans Raytheon and General Dynamics, although those two have swapped places since the 2011 charts.

The trans-European EADS consortium holds seventh place, whereas the top listing for a Spanish company, CASA, is joint twenty second, although they do also have activities under EADS.

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