The world’s 100 largest arms dealers, excluding China, sold weapons and military services worth $411.1 billion dollars (310 billion euros) in 2010, a rise of one percent from 2009, a study published Monday said.
“Total arms sales … maintained their upward trend in 2010, although at one percent in real terms, the increase was much slower than in 2009,” the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a statement.
In 2009, sales swelled by seven percent to 406 billion dollars.
“The data for 2010 demonstrates, once again, the major players’ ability to continue selling arms and military services despite the financial crises currently affecting other industries,” SIPRI arms industry expert Susan Jackson said.
American firms dominated the Top 100 list as usual, with sales by 44 US-based companies accounting for over 60 percent of the market, or $246.6 billion.
Seven of them placed in the top 10, with Lockheed Martin in first place with sales of 35.7 billion dollars.
The non-US firms were Britain’s BAE Systems in second place, European group EADS in seventh, and Italy’s Finmeccanica in eighth position.
The number of European groups on the Top 100 list declined from 33 in 2009 to 30 in 2010, accounting for a total of 29 percent of sales worth 119 billion dollars.
The military services market, which includes systems support, training, logistics and maintenance, also continued to grow, with 20 companies on the list.
Several companies on this year’s list made company acquisitions in 2010, thereby inflating their sales compared to previous years, the institute said.
SIPRI noted that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had “mixed impacts” on arms sales, even with the drawdown in Iraq that began in 2010.
The think tank, which is specialised in research on conflicts, weapons, arms control and disarmament, was created in 1966 and is 50-percent financed by the Swedish state.
It defines arms sales as “sales of military goods and services to military customers, including both sales for domestic procurement and sales for export.”
It has published the Top 100 list of arms producers since 1990, a list that excludes China due to a lack of available data.