1. Total world arms trade
2. Top suppliers and buyers of weapons
3. Largest arms producing companies
4. Small arms
12 billion bullets are produced every year- enough to kill everyone on earth twice. In fact, every minute, one person is killed by armed violence. There are almost 1 billion guns in the world (of which about a quarter billion are in the U.S.). Guns or other light weapons are involved in roughly 60% of all human rights violations. Three quarters of all the weapons in the world – light and heavy – are supplied by the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. One third by the U.S. In 2011, exports of arms by the U.S. rose to 3 quarters of the total market.
Global transfers of large conventional weapons such as tanks and planes were 24% higher in 2007-2011 than in 2002-2006, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
However, estimates of the volume and financial value of the international arms trade vary a lot depending on how one defines “arms”. Here’s one estimate:
There’s a higher estimate here:
(source, click image to enlarge)
And then there’s this estimate, which includes the sale of military services:
What is clear from all these estimates, however, is that the downward trend following the end of the Cold War has been reversed during the last decade.
Three-quarters of all exports in the past five years since 2007 were made by five or six countries: the US, Russia, Germany, the UK, China and France (in decreasing order). The US alone represents a third of global weapons exports.
Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major arms sales to Persian Gulf allies. Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion in 2011, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals. The American weapons sales total was an extraordinary increase over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010.
The main buyers of arms are China, India, and the United Arab Emirates.
Given China’s increasing ability to manufacture its own weapons, India is today the biggest importer of arms, buying 10% of the world’s total.
(source, click images to enlarge)
This covers only international transfers. We should also include domestic sales of arms. Many industrialized countries have a domestic arms industry to supply their own military forces, and a domestic trade in weapons for use by their citizens. Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the phrase “military-industrial complex”, where the armed forces, industry and politics become closely linked and encourage each other’s hunger for arms.
According to SIPRI,
“arms sales by the 100 largest arms-producing companies in the world (excluding China) – the SIPRI Top 100 – amounted to $315 billion in 2006, an increase of 9 per cent in nominal terms and 5 per cent in real terms.”
Over 600 million items of small arms are in circulation. According to Oxfam, around 500.000 individuals die in small arms-conflicts every year, approximately one death per minute. About 60% of human rights violations documented by Amnesty International have involved the use of small arms and light weapons.