These Are The 10 Companies That Dominate the Global Arms Trade

The world puts $1.69 trillion towards military expenditures per year, and about $375 billion of that goes towards buying arms specifically.

Whether it is guns, tanks, jets, missiles, or ships that are on your shopping list, in the international arms community, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardin notes, there is a supplier for any weapon your country desires.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist



Today’s chart organizes the world’s top arms companies by sales, location, and arms as a percentage of sales:

Note: Airbus considers itself a European company. It’s registered in the Netherlands, and its main HQ is in France.

The above data comes courtesy of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks arms deals and companies extensively.


While it is common knowledge that the United States plays a big role in the global arms trade, the numbers are still quite astounding.

Of the top ten companies by sales, firms based in the U.S. make up seven of them. That includes the clear #1, Lockheed Martin, which had $40.8 billion in arms-related sales in 2016, as well as the remaining constituents of the top three: Boeing and Raytheon.

Further, on SIPRI’s wider top 100 list, a good proxy for total arms sales globally, U.S. defense companies accounted for a whopping 58% of total global arms sales. That adds up to $217.2 billion in 2016, a 4.0% rise over the previous year.


Only three companies make the top 10 leaderboard from outside of the United States.

That group includes Airbus, the massive European commercial airline manufacturer that gets 17% of its sales from arms-related deals, as well as BAE Systems (U.K.) and Leonardo (Italy).

As a final caveat, it’s worth mentioning that SIPRI notes that some Chinese companies would likely make its Top 100 list as well – but for now, the list excludes Chinese companies as the available data is not comparable or accurate.


SoDamnMad D503 Mon, 01/15/2018 - 03:32 Permalink

"But it's for jobs for my constituents. "  I remember Newt Gingrich demanding the military take a couple Lockheed - Marrietta made C-130 every year even though they didn't have slots or pilots to fly them.  Coast Guard had to use money from their small budget to fund these and figure out where to put them in such a manner as to not have to fly for an hour to get to a search area. Their job was mainly on the water but Newt didn't give a shit.

In reply to by D503

HRClinton JustPrintMoreDuh Sun, 01/14/2018 - 23:48 Permalink

The Arms industry is the backstop of the employment of a People.

When all other industries are too immature or inefficient to compete, they lobby the "Employer of Last Resort": the Government.

Politicians like them too, for the big projects and its employment outlast most private sector business cycles. Especially if they can be kept in the politician's district.

In reply to by JustPrintMoreDuh

whatsupdoc HRClinton Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

Sir, you forgot the fact that there have been so many 'marginally useful' professions created in the last 3 decades.  So many of these professions are unable to continue without direct government support.  In a world of shrinking money these professions are the 'discretionary spending' type and many would choose to not pay for their services.  They offer only marginal benefit yet the governments continue to support them - for now.


Truly useful and necessary skills is where its at. 


Truly useful and necessary people account for only 5-10% of the world's population I'd guess.  This is sobering.

In reply to by HRClinton

discopimp Sun, 01/14/2018 - 23:40 Permalink

Ok, got to do it, and looks like I may be the first one!  Peace Sells...but Who's Buying!!

"What do you mean I could be the President of the United State of America???...Tell me Something...its Still We the People...Right???

vonmisesrises Sun, 01/14/2018 - 23:45 Permalink

The United States has a policy of providing arms to foreign countries to prevent them building up their own industries while binding them into the US sphere of influence. These arms and their development are heavily subsidized by the US taxpayer. Armament companies shouldn't be viewed in dollar terms but in terms of what equipment is being provided. It has nothing to do with money and everything to do with power.

'There never was a new prince who has disarmed his subjects; rather when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, because, by arming them, those arms become yours, those men who were distrusted become faithful, and those who were faithful are kept so, and your subjects become your adherents.' - Machiavelli

Welcome to the desert of the real.  

Zorba's idea DuneCreature Mon, 01/15/2018 - 14:34 Permalink

Likely any and all of them Dune, but aren't these folks just the pimps for what appears to be similar to the Third Reich's prisoner slave work force. From Hjalmar Schacht, the Reich's Minister of Economics who in 1934 introduced the "Mefo Bills"(government IOU's) rather than using Reichsmarks to pay German industry to conceal Germany's rearmament efforts, and culminating with Albert Speer's genius wartime efforts beginning in 1942 all seem to mirror our clandestine "post constitutional" government's war industry. The MICC is as it was prophetically revealed by President Eisenhower, America's greatest threat and regrettably the entire planet's as well. 

In reply to by DuneCreature

War and Fleece Mon, 01/15/2018 - 00:07 Permalink

Interesting. Do we exclude the non-public organizations in communist nations too? Does the almighty dollar hold such bravado as to exclude the other armament creators who aren't subject to markets in the same capacity?


Manipuflation Hyjinx Mon, 01/15/2018 - 02:13 Permalink

The Russians are to blame for this.  It's automatic that we blame Russia for everything that is wrong.  For fuck sakes.  Jeebus Crispen's Day they banned the Russians from the Olympics.  Honestly?  That wasn't Merica acting alone.  If there was a reason to watch there is not one now.  

Just give Canada the gold medal in hockey, we'll take silver as usual and give the bronze to the Swedes or the Finns.  

In reply to by Hyjinx

Gardentoolnumber5 Mon, 01/15/2018 - 07:53 Permalink

"It is not possible to penetrate fully behind the veil which hides the intimacy of the relationship of the Money Trust and the Munitions Trust. But the veil has been lifted enough for us to realize that The Bloody Traffic is closely wedded to the Banking Traffic." Fenner Brockway

"A subject which requires more investigation than has yet been given to it is the relationship of the armament firms to the banks. There is a closer relationship than is usual with ordinary industrial concerns; first, because Governments are the buyers of armaments and less wealthy nations frequently require loans for the purpose, and second, because the Governments of the wealthier nations often wish, for political reasons, to direct and facilitate the purchase of arms by smaller nations and guarantee loans for this purpose.

This four-party arrangement between the armament firm, the bank, the small purchasing nation, and the sympathetic Power has great advantages, especially for the armament firm. Let us see how it works out.

The armament salesman convinces the Government of a small nation that it should buy arms. It has no funds for the purpose. The armament firm therefore approaches the bank. The bank wishes to be certain that the interest on the loan will be paid, so it approaches its Government. The Government sees an opportunity of bringing the small nation within its sphere of political and economic influence. The guarantee is given.

Thus the armament firm gets its order, the small nation gets its armaments, the bank gets its interest guaranteed, and the Great Power gets an ally which is useful immediately as a sphere for economic development and which, as a political supporter, may be exceedingly useful in a time of war for military purposes.

Sometimes the initiative is taken, not by the armament firm, but by the Government of the Great Power; sometimes by the Government of the small nation. In either case the benefits are mutual."

-The Bloody Traffic by Fenner Brockway



Gardentoolnumber5 Gardentoolnumber5 Mon, 01/15/2018 - 07:57 Permalink

"Thus we see how The Bloody Traffic continues in peace-time as in war-time. The armament firms sell their weapons of murder to whomsoever will buy: to their own Governments; to friendly Governments; to enemy Governments; to Governments which are potential enemies; to Governments engaged in wars condemned by the League of Nations; to countries carrying on wars which their own Governments wish to support secretly; to Chinese war lords; to the armies of oil combines; to Nazis; to any Government, to any interest whatsoever, so long as the money is forthcoming. The purchasers matter not. If they pay they get goods. Even when they can't pay, they get their goods if their credit, on the security of taxation or pillage, is sufficiently good.

Such is The Bloody Traffic, a quite callous selling of the weapons of murder to any customer who can pay the price." -Fenner Brockway

In reply to by Gardentoolnumber5

JibjeResearch Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:34 Permalink

Yes, the USA, our country, is a warring state.

Most of us can't do anything about it.

The best outcome for us individually is to get rich fast and use it as a barrier against suffering when the time comes.