Top Military Weapons Exporters

Machine gun is an example of a military weapon

Machine gun

Global sales from military weapons exports by country totaled US$342.1 million in 2017. Overall, the value of exported military weapons rose by an average 4.4% for all exporting countries since 2013 when shipments of military weapons were valued at $327.8 million.

From 2016 to 2017, the value of globally exported military weapons declined -5.2%.

Among continents, North American countries generated the highest international sales in exported military weapons during 2017 with shipments valued at $181 million or over half (52.9%) of the global total. In second place were European exporters at 40.7% while 4.9% of worldwide military weapons shipments originated from Asia.

Smaller percentages came from the Oceanian nation Australia at 0.8%, trailed by exporters in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean at 0.7%, then African shippers at 0.0003%.

The 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 930190 for military weapons (excluding artillery products).

Military Exports by Country

Countries

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of military weapons during 2017.

  1. United States: US$176.7 million (51.7% of total military weapons exports)
  2. Norway: $111.8 million (32.7%)
  3. South Korea: $11.6 million (3.4%)
  4. Switzerland: $6.9 million (2%)
  5. Slovakia: $6.2 million (1.82%)
  6. Poland: $6.2 million (1.81%)
  7. Croatia: $6.2 million (1.8%)
  8. Thailand: $5.0 million (1.5%)
  9. Australia: $2.8 million (0.8%)
  10. Mexico: $2.7 million (no 2013 data)
  11. Colombia: $2.1 million (0.6%)
  12. Canada: $1.6 million (0.5%)
  13. Netherlands: $770,000 (0.23%)
  14. Slovenia: $564,000 (0.16%)
  15. Spain: $478,000 (0.14%)

By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 99.9% of exported military weapons exports in 2017.

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing military weapons exporters since 2013 were: Norway (up 2,246%), Netherlands (up 413.3%), Poland (up 148.2%) and Slovakia (up 106.5%).

Five countries posted declines in their exported military weapons sales namely Colombia (down -57.7%), Canada (down -41.7%), United States (down -33.4%), Switzerland (down -28.9%) and Australia (down -10.5%).

Advantages

The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for military weapons during 2017. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported military weapons and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. United States: US$165.2 million (net export surplus down -35.6% since 2013)
  2. Norway: $110.7 million (reversing a -$21.4 million deficit)
  3. Switzerland: $6.9 million (down -28.9%)
  4. Poland: $4.2 million (up 168.3%)
  5. Croatia: $4.1 million (up 30.9%)
  6. South Korea: $3.7 million (reversing a -$13.9 million deficit)
  7. Slovakia: $1.9 million (down -24.5%)
  8. Australia: $1.3 million (reversing a -$13.5 million deficit)
  9. Peru: $34,000 (reversing a -$11,000 deficit)
  10. Chile: $11,000 (reversing a -$8,000 deficit)
  11. Montenegro: $3,000 (down -90%)
  12. Seychelles: $1,000 (no 2013 data)

The United States of America has the highest surplus in the international trade of military weapons. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms America’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.

Opportunities

The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for military weapons during 2017. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported military weapons purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. Indonesia: -US$21.2 million (net export deficit down -59.1% since 2013)
  2. Thailand: -$20.7 million (up 562.6%)
  3. United Arab Emirates: -$13.4 million (reversing a $1,000 surplus)
  4. Canada: -$11.5 million (down -63.7%)
  5. New Zealand: -$10.5 million (up 816.6%)
  6. Malaysia: -$9.5 million (up 1427.4%)
  7. Kenya: -$9 million (up 678.6%)
  8. Netherlands: -$6.7 million (reversing a $77,000 surplus)
  9. Tunisia: -$6.6 million (no 2013 data)
  10. Afghanistan: -$4.1 million (no 2013 data)
  11. Qatar: -$4 million (up 2,039%)
  12. Colombia: -$3.95 million (down -53%)
  13. Philippines: -$3.6 million (no 2013 data)
  14. Spain: -$3.1 million (no 2013 data)
  15. Brazil: -$2.96 million (up 148.8%)

Indonesia incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of military weapons. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Indonesia’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for military weapons-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.

Companies

Military Weapons Exporting Companies

Below are global military weapons-manufacturing businesses that represent established players engaged in the international military weapons trade. The home country for each company is shown within parenthesis.

  • Austal (Australia)
  • CAE Inc (Canada)
  • Indian Ordnance Factories (India)
  • Korea Aerospace Industries (South Korea)
  • Lockheed Martin (United States)
  • RUAG Rüstungs Unternehmen Aktiengesellschaft (Switzerland)
  • Ukroboronprom (Ukraine)
  • United Technologies Corporation (United States)









See also Highest Value US Export Products and America’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 15, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 15, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 15, 2018

Wikipedia, Companies by arms sales. Accessed on June 15, 2018