U.S. leads global export military spending for defense technology, followed by Russia and France

June 15, 2016
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., 15 June 2016. The United States will remain the world's top exporter of military weapons and technology in 2016, controlling more than one-third of military spending for defense technology sent to outside nations.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., 15 June 2016. The United States will remain the world's top exporter of military weapons and technology in 2016, controlling more than one-third of military spending for defense technology sent to outside nations.

That's the word from analysts at market researcher IHS Inc. in Englewood, Colo. Overall global defense trade reached a record-breaking $65 billion in 2015 -- the largest one-year increase in the defense trade market ever -- analysts say. Global defense trade numbers do not include purchases for internal military use.

The U.S. will export military weapons and technologies worth $24.4 billion in 2016, followed by Russia at $7.7 billion; France at $6 billion; Germany at $4.8 billion, the United Kingdom at $4.4 billion; Canada at $4.3 billion; Israel at $3 billion; Italy at $2.5 billion; Spain at $1.8 billion; and China at $1.6 billion, analysts predict.

The global defense trade market is small compared with internal defense spending among the world's most developed nations. The U.S. Congress, for example, is formulating a fiscal 2017 Pentagon budget that will exceed $600 billion.

The U.S. share of the global defense trade market will grow by 6.3 percent in 2016, rising from $23 billion to $24.4 billion, analysts say. This dramatic growth may exceed $30 billion as deliveries of the F-35 combat aircraft begin to ramp up, analysts say.

Related: 2017 DOD budget calls for 15 percent increase in military cyber security spending

France, meanwhile, has doubled its backlog of orders from $36 billion in 2014 to $55 billion last year, meaning that $55 billion worth of defense equipment has yet to be exported. This increase means that France will overtake Russia as the second-largest global defense equipment exporter, IHS experts say in the annual Global Defence Trade Report released this week.

In 2018, France will move from the third to the second largest global exporter of defense equipment, pushing Russia down the table for the first time in decades, analysts say.

The report examines trends in the global defense market across 65 countries and is based on 40,000 programs from the IHS Aerospace, Defence & Security’s Markets Forecast database.

“The global defense trade market has never seen an increase as large as the one we saw between 2014 and 2015,” says Ben Moores, senior analyst at IHS. Markets rose $6.6 billion, bringing the value of the global defense market in 2015 to $65 billion. IHS forecasts that the market will increase further to $69 billion in 2016.

Saudi Arabia will lead the world's military importers in 2016 with $10.1 billion in military purchases. Following Saudi Arabia among the world's top military importers in 2016 will be India at $4 billion; the United Arab Emirates at $3.1 billion; South Korea at $2.5 billion; Iraq at $2.3 billion; Australia at $2.1 billion; Egypt at $2 billion; Taiwan at $2 billion; Algeria at $1.8 billion; and Qatar at $1.7 billion.

Related: Military electronics spending for communications and intelligence heading upward in 2017

In 2015 the Middle East was the largest importing region, with $21.6 billion in deliveries of defense equipment, IHS analysts say. Total defense spending accelerated in Asia-Pacific last year as states bordering the South China Sea boosted defense spending.

The largest global exporter, the United States, saw another 10 percent increase in exports over the past year, bringing the total to $23 billion (35 percent of the global total). There was significant change in the top five importing countries last year, with Taiwan, China, and Indonesia all dropping out of the top five and Australia, Egypt, and South Korea replacing them.

The IHS report indicates that U.S. trade flow to the Middle East has been driven by sales of military aircraft and associated mission systems. Russia, meanwhile, is likely to increase its trade in the region as post-sanctions Iran begins to replace its exhausted aviation assets.

The value of military imports throughout Western Europe rose from $7.9 billion in 2013 to $9.6 billion in 2015. from Norway, pan-European programs and the United Kingdom. United Kingdom imports nearly doubled as imports of MARS tanker ships from South Korea and CH-47 helicopters from the United States have begun.

For more information contact IHS online at www.ihs.com.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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