A Russian S-300 air defense system launches a missile. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov
نظام دفاع جوي روسي S-400 يطلق صاروخًا. photo: Reuters

Russia has overtaken the UK to become the world’s second-largest arms producer but still lags far behind the United States, according to a new report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

“Russian companies have experienced significant growth in their arms sales since 2011,” Sipri senior researcher Siemon Wezeman said in a statement.

“This is in line with Russia’s increased spending on arms procurement to modernize its armed forces.”

Russia had 10 companies in Sipri’s list of the world’s top 100 arms-producing and military services companies in 2017, accounting for 9.5% of sales. The 10 companies’ sales totaled $37.7 billion, Sipri said.

That put Russia in second place, a position that had been held by the UK since 2002.

The United States topped the list with 42 companies and sales up by 2% to $226.6 billion – accounting for 57% of the top 100’s arms sales.

“US companies directly benefit from the US Department of Defense’s ongoing demand for weapons,” said Aude Fleurant, the director of Sipri’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

US company Lockheed Martin remained the world’s largest arms producer in 2017, with sales of $44.9 billion, the think-tank said.

For the first time, a Russian company appeared in the list of the top 10 arms producers: Almaz-Antey, which increased its sales by 17% in 2017 to $8.6 billion.

Meanwhile, the UK, the largest arms producer in Western Europe, fell to third position, with sales of $35.7 billion. BAE Systems is ranked the fourth-biggest company in Sipri’s Top 100 list.

The institute also noted that sales by Turkish companies rose by 24% in 2017, reflecting Ankara’s “ambitions to develop its arms industry to fulfill its growing demand for weapons and become less dependent on foreign suppliers,” said Sipri researcher Pieter Wezeman.

The figures exclude China, for which figures are not available, Sipri noted.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse

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