The rise in crises around the world, especially in Ukraine and the Middle East, has refocused attention on international arms exports. Here we visualize US and Russia’s biggest arms-trading partners.
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For decades, countries skilled in the manufacture of weapons have provided them to other countries in need; and at the helm of these trades are the United States and Russia, which, as Visual Capitalist’s Anshool Deshmukh details below, have accounted for 57 percent of all international arms trades in the last ten years.
So, who are the most significant importers of guns from these two nations, and what is the military worth of these trades?
The following infographic by Ruben Berge Mathisen visualizes the top 50 largest arms recipients by value for both the United States and Russia over the previous decade using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) arms transfer database.
The Military Valuation of Arms Transfers
Arms are valued militarily using trend-indicator values (TIV). This valuation reflects a specific item’s military capability (read below) instead of its financial value.
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TIVs are assigned to all weapons that meet the traditional criteria of large armaments. The following are the most commonly assigned TIV weapons and components.
- Aircraft and armored vehicles
- Artillery (>100mm in caliber)
- Sensors and guided missiles, large air defense guns, torpedoes, and bombs
- 100mm caliber artillery-armed ships (>100-tonne displacement)
- Reconnaissance satellites and air refueling systems
Rather than focusing on budgets, evaluating TIV makes it easier to track trends in the movement of armaments between certain countries and areas over time, thereby producing a military capacity price index.
Biggest Recipients of U.S. Armaments
The United States is the world’s top arms exporter, accounting for 35% of worldwide shipments to over 130 countries over the last decade.
Most recently, the Middle East has been the largest market for US arms sales, with Saudi Arabia being the most notable receiver of weapons. Throughout the last decade, the country has bought 24% of overall US weaponry exports, with components totaling more than 18 billion TIVs.
Here are the top ten countries that have received US arms:
The United States is the world’s largest supplier of weapons; nonetheless, sales of military equipment to other countries fell by 21% over the previous fiscal year, from $175 billion in 2020 to $138 billion in 2021.
Biggest Recipients of Russian Armaments
Between 2011 and 2021, Russia, the world’s second-largest arms dealer, was accountable for 22% of worldwide arms exports.
In regards to TIVs, India remains by far the largest importer of Russian weapons. India’s reliance on Russian-made armaments is motivated by its efforts to counter China’s military assertiveness on the one hand, and its ongoing border clashes with Pakistan on the other.
Despite the Indian Prime Minister’s sustained backing for Russia and its President, even in the aftermath of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, some sources indicate that India has been seeking elsewhere for armaments in recent years.
Let us have a look at some of the other major Russian arms importers around the world:
One such interaction is Russia’s provision of weaponry to pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels. Since 2014, Russia has provided arms and training to these insurgents. Weapons ranging from pistols and mines to tanks and missile launchers have been used.
Effect of the War on Ukraine on Arms Trades
According to the most recent SIPRI data, the worldwide arms trade declined by 4.6 percent over the last five years. Despite this, Europe has emerged as a new hotspot for arms imports, with a 19% increase in arms transfers over the same period.
The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Norway were the major importers, and other nations may follow suit.
According to experts, this spike is due to the deterioration of Russia-Europe relations. Concerned about Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, European countries have been rethinking their defense budgets, as evidenced by Germany’s recent €100 billion vow to strengthen its military.
The major arms transfer partners of the United States and Russia are likely to evolve in the future years. But which way will the trend of arms transfers go?
Read the document below: