First the time since the 1990’s the global sales of weapons decreased. The ending of the war in Iraq and the drawdown of the war in Afghanistan and the proposed defense budget cuts has affected the button lines of those who profit from war. A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that arms sales, mostly from US and European firms, fell by 5% to $410 billion in 2011:
Spending fell for the first time since the mid-1990s, when defence spending was falling after the Cold War, Susan Jackson, a researcher at SIPRI, said.
Sales growth had already slowed in 2010, to 1 percent from 8 percent in 2009, as the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq held back demand.
Of the firms monitored by the group in 2011, 74 were based in the US and western Europe, generating 90 percent of the sales, roughly unchanged from 2010.
The top spots were little changed from 2010 with US firm Lockheed Martin still the biggest, with $36.3bn in sales. Boeing placed second, with $31.8bn in sales, followed by British BAE Systems with $29.1bn.
SIPRI said a strong recent trend among big arms makers was diversification into cyber-security – protecting computers and networks against intrusions and attacks – as public spending in this area remained a privileged area in Western countries despite budget austerity.
Photo: F-16 Fighting Falcons demonstrate an ‘Elephant Walk’ as they taxi down the flightline at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fowler)