Sales of arms and military services by the 100 largest companies in the industry reached $592 billion in 2021, a 1.9 per cent increase compared with 2020 in real terms. This is according to new data released today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The increase marked the seventh consecutive year of rising global arms sales. However, while the rate of growth in 2020–21 was higher than in 2019–20 (1.1 per cent), it was still below the average for the four years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic (3.7 per cent).
Many parts of the arms industry were still affected by pandemic-related disruptions in global supply chains in 2021, which included delays in global shipping and shortages of vital components.
‘We might have expected even greater growth in arms sales in 2021 without persistent supply chain issues,’ said Dr Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, Director of the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. ‘Both larger and smaller arms companies said that their sales had been affected during the year. Some companies, such as Airbus and General Dynamics, also reported labour shortages.’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has added to supply chain challenges for arms companies, not least because Russia is a major supplier of raw materials used in arms production. This could hamper ongoing efforts in the United States and Europe to strengthen their armed forces and to replenish their stockpiles after sending billions of dollars’ worth of ammunition and other equipment to Ukraine. Läs artikel