The independent resource on global security

Arms production

Arms production
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Photo: Flickr/Robert Sullivan

SIPRI's arms production project monitors, describes and analyses trends and developments in arms production worldwide. The project was initiated in 1989 to study developments in the arms industry. It collects information on the major arms-producing and military services companies (‘arms companies’), and describes and analyses the evolution of the arms industry in the light of changes to the economic and political context. Available information on arms production is limited, at both company and national levels, and there is a great need for further transparency.

The project maintains the SIPRI Arms Industry Database, which provides information on the largest arms companies in the world. Some of the data is released in annual data launches and is described in the SIPRI Yearbook.

In 2020 the project investigated aspects of the internationalization of the arms industry. It used a new data set covering 2019 to map this internationalization in terms of the international presence of major arms companies. The mapping comprises 400 foreign entities linked to the world’s largest arms companies. It shows that the international presence of major arms companies continues to be influenced by geopolitical divisions and ties, and generally mirrors the geographical locations of the world’s biggest arms import markets. It also reveals that the international presence of major Chinese arms companies and the one Russian company included in the study remains limited.

Gallery: Arms production graphics