Killer facts: The scale of the global arms trade

Weapons and ammunition in circulation

  • Total current military stocks of China, USA, Russia, India, France and UK:
    15,426 Battle tanks
    17,816 Armoured combat vehicles
    36,621 Large calibre artillery systems
    7,644 Combat aircraft
    1,485 Attack helicopters
    269 Warships
    527 Heavy unmanned aerial vehicles
    [Source: The Military Balance]
  • 875 million small arms and light weapons are estimated to be in circulation worldwide. [Source: Small Arms Survey]
  • Between 700,000 and 900,000 small arms are produced annually. [Source: Small Arms Survey]


Value of transfers

• A definitive figure for the value of international conventional arms transfers is difficult to calculate with precision. In 2010, the total value, as recorded in national statistics, was approximately US$72 billion. Since then, it is estimated that it the arms trade has been approaching US$100 billion annually.
[Source: Solutions, “The Arms Trade Treaty: Building a Path to Disarmament”, 2013]

• The annual authorized trade in small arms and light weapons exceeds US$8.5 billion. More than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries produce small arms and light weapons. [Source: Small Arms Survey]


Military expenditure

• Total global military expenditure has risen from US$1.14 trillion in 2001 to $US1.711 trillion in 2014, a rise of 50%. [Source: SIPRI – figures in constant 2011 prices/exchange rates]

• Military expenditure in the Middle East has grown from $US99 to $US173 billion during the same period, a rise of 75% [Source: SIPRI– figures in constant 2011 prices/exchange rates]

 

The top 10 importers and exporters of major arms, 2010–14

Exporter  Global share (%)  
1. USA           31 
2. Russia        27 
3. China          5 
4. Germany     5 
5. France         5 
6. UK              4 
7. Spain          3 
8. Italy            3 
9. Ukraine        3 
10. Israel         2 

Importer  Global share (%)
1. India          15
2. Saudi Arabia 5
3. China           5
4. UAE             4
5. Pakistan       4
6. Australia      4
7. Turkey         3
8. USA             3
9. South Korea 3
10. Singapore   3

 [Source: SIPRI]


Armed violence

Globally, armed violence kills around 508,000 people every year, most in non-conflict settings.

High homicide rates have been estimated to cost the global economy just under US$2 trillion between 2000 and 2010 – 2.64% of the global output in 2010.

[Source: Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, Global burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every body counts]

 

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