Asia-Pacific accounts for 50 percent of Russian defense exports

The countries of the Asia-Pacific Region account for approximately 50% of Russia’s defense exports, Dmitry Shugayev, Director General of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), told Russian media: "China, India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Malaysia are among Russia’s main partners for military-technical cooperation in the region. These countries account for some 50% of Russia’s backlog of export defense orders," said Shugayev.
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BTR-3U of the Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw) in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) during the coup d'Etat in February 2021. (Picture source: DVB TV News)

According to Dmitry Shugayev, Director General of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Russia pays specific attention to technological cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries. "Considering these countries’ commitment to developing their own defense industries, specific attention is paid to technological partnership in terms of joint enterprises and establishing of licensed manufacturing of Russian defense products," said Shugayev.

According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), sales of arms and military services by the sector’s largest 25 companies totalled US$361 billion in 2019, 8.5 percent more than in 2018 (figures for 2020 are not available yet). The largest companies have a geographically diverse international presence. This is according to new data released today by the SIPRI.

New data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that arms sales by the world’s 25 largest arms-producing and military services companies (arms companies) totalled US$361 billion in 2019. This represents an 8.5 percent increase in real terms over the arms sales of the top 25 arms companies in 2018. The revenues of the two Russian companies in the top 25 — Almaz-Antey and United Shipbuilding — both decreased between 2018 and 2019, by a combined total of $634 million. A third Russian company, United Aircraft, lost $1.3 billion in sales and dropped out of the top 25 in 2019.

In 2019 the top five arms companies were all based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. These five together registered $166 billion in annual arms sales. In total, 12 US companies appear in the top 25 for 2019, accounting for 61 percent of the combined arms sales of the top 25.

For the first time, a Middle Eastern firm appears in the top 25 ranking. EDGE, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was created in 2019 from the merger of more than 25 smaller companies. It ranks at number 22 and accounted for 1.3 percent of total arms sales of the top 25.

‘EDGE is a good illustration of how the combination of high national demand for military products and services with a desire to become less dependent on foreign suppliers is driving the growth of arms companies in the Middle East,’ said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

Another newcomer in the top 25 in 2019 was L3Harris Technologies (ranked 10th). It was created through the merger of two US companies that were both in the top 25 in 2018: Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies.

Corporation of China (AVIC; ranked 6th), China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC; ranked 8th) and China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO; ranked 9th). The combined revenue of the four Chinese companies in the top 25—which also include China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC; ranked 24th)—grew by 4.8 percent between 2018 and 2019.

Reflecting on the rise in the arms sales of Chinese companies, SIPRI Senior Researcher Nan Tian said: ‘Chinese arms companies are benefiting from military modernization programmes for the People’s Liberation Army.’

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Visit of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces generals to Army-2018 defense forum near Kubinka. Cambodia is by far a "better customer" of Chinese-made defense equipment (Picture source: Army Recognition)