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Huge demand for weapons – arms companies could sell more than they can make – News


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The days of disarmament are over. According to Sipri, the sales of the hundred largest gunsmiths in the world alone increased by 1.9 percent in 2021, adjusted for inflation. It is already the seventh year of growth in a row. Located inside would be even more.

Geopolitical tensions are having a direct impact on global arms production. The demand increases significantly. She did this before the start of the Ukraine war. And now that the Europeans, and especially the Americans, have been supplying Ukraine with armaments worth many billions of dollars, not least ammunition, they now have to replenish their own arsenals, which have dwindled drastically as a result.

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SRF

According to the experts at the Stockholm peace research institute Sipri, the sales growth of the armaments multinationals could have been even more significant than the already impressive 1.9 percent. However, it was slowed down. Mainly due to supply chain problems due to the corona pandemic.

In addition, Russian raw materials such as aluminum, steel, titanium or copper are now unavailable for Western suppliers. Russia’s gunsmiths, in turn, are suffering from the lack of Western semiconductors and other electronic components due to sanctions against Moscow.

Exhibition with a tank.  Above it a company logo of General Dynamics.

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A booth of the US company General Dynamics at the World Defense Show in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh.

Reuters / Ahmed Yosri

Some corporations, such as Airbus or General Dynamics, are also complaining about bottlenecks in the labor market, they are not finding enough staff. In some NATO countries, particularly in the United States, the question is already being discussed as to how long Ukraine can continue to be supplied with weapons and ammunition without risking security-threatening gaps in their own weapons stocks.

US multinationals dominate the market – and China

What is striking is that US multinationals are now clearly dominating the international armaments business. Led by Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon and Boeing, they occupy places one to five in the global sales ranking. Only Chinese manufacturers follow in seventh to tenth place. In between, the British group BAE Systems is the only European provider to move into sixth place.

China’s armaments companies are now among the largest in the world – only five US companies are ahead of them. But not a single European or Russian. In addition, Chinese arms suppliers grew significantly more in 2021 than the global average, namely by 6.3 percent in sales.

When it comes to warships, even a Chinese company, CSSC, is now number one in the world. This shows the high priority the leadership in Beijing attaches to expanding its navy. No country today has more warships than China, namely – depending on what you count – around 700. The USA has significantly fewer.

The fact that Beijing is investing particularly in the navy and aircraft carriers underscores China’s ambition to be a superpower on an equal footing with the USA and to overtake the latter one day. Because a high-seas navy serves less to defend one’s own country than it is an instrument to project power around the globe.

There is no longer a single Swiss company among the hundred gunsmiths with the highest turnover: the state-owned Ruag, which used to figure regularly on the Sipri list, disappeared, as did the Pilatus aircraft factory, which only appeared there sporadically anyway.

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