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  • he Trump administration is preparing to make it easier for American gun makers to sell small arms, including assault rifles and ammunition, to foreign buyers, according to senior U.S. officials.

    he Trump administration is preparing to make it easier for American gun makers to sell small arms, including assault rifles and ammunition, to foreign buyers, according to senior U.S. officials. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 December 2017

A new report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, revealed that despite the slump in global arms industry for five consecutive years, in 2016, arms producers world over saw US$375 billion in profits, with the U.S. weapons industry claiming over half the global sales.   

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"The growth in arms sales was expected and was driven by the implementation of new national major weapon programs, ongoing military operations in several countries, and persistent regional tensions that are leading to an increased demand for weapons," according to SIPRI 's latest analysis. 

Per the document, U.S. companies' sales rose by four percent. U.S. weapons producers which claimed the largest share of sales, about 58 percent, raked up US$$217 billion worth of sales. 

Over half the 20 weapon sellers listed by SIPRI in its report were U.S companies. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman ranked among the top five, with Lockheed Martin being the world's top producer. Per the SIPRI fact sheet, Lockheed Martin's sales grew by 10.7 percent last year. 

One of the report's authors, Aude Fleurant, also the director of SIPRI's Arms and Military Expenditures Program, attributed Lockheed Martin's status to "the acquisition of helicopter producer Sikorsky in late 2015 and higher delivery volumes of the F-35 combat aircraft."

Earlier in September, the U.S. Senate approved a US$700 billion dollar military-spending bill for 2018.

 

Citing North Korea as a threat, the bill aims to bulk up of the military with more ships, aircraft, and troops. Part of the bill is also supposed to strengthen the missile technology against North Korea.  

The defense bill will pump nearly US$634 billion into the fiscal year 2018 for key Pentagon operations, with about US$66 billion alone for the war operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries.  

Sales of arms and military services world over increased by 38 percent since SIPRI started its analysis in 2002. The researchers also noted that China's military spending "increased almost threefold between 2002 and 2016," and an estimated nine of 10 Chinese companies could be included in the top 100 list—with four to six in the top 20—given the data were publicly available. 

SIPRI also listed companies based in Brazil, India, South Korea, and Turkey as "emerging producers." 


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