Arms Imports to Europe Surge Despite Global Decline, US Dominance in Weapons Market Gets a Boost

European states' imports of major arms over the five years between 2018 and 2022 surged significantly compared with that of the 2013-2017 period, despite the global arms transfers decreased during the same period, a Swedish research institute said.

In its latest report of global arms sales, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday said during the 2018-2022 period, the imports of major arms by European states increased by 47 per cent from the five years between 2013 and 2017, while the global arms transfers decreased by 5.1 per cent during the same period.

During the stated period, arms imports in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania, and the Middle East fell by 40 per cent, 21 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively, according to the report.

NATO Wikipedia

Meanwhile, European North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states increased their arms imports by 65 per cent mainly due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Xinhua news agency reported.

US Dominance

The report also said that the US dominance of the global arms trade increased, as its share of global arms exports surged from 33 to 40 per cent while Russia's share fell from 22 to 16 per cent.

In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea, Japan and Australia's arms imports soared 61 per cent, 171 per cent and 23 per cent respectively, with the US as the main supplier to the three countries. In the Middle East, the largest arms supplier is also the US, providing 54 per cent of the region's arms imports.

Fighter Jet

As a result of military aid from the US and many European states following the Ukraine crisis in February 2022, Ukraine became the third biggest importer of major arms during 2022.

"Even as arms transfers have declined globally, those to Europe have risen sharply due to the tensions between Russia and most other European states," said Pieter D. Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, in a press statement.

Headquartered in Stockholm, SIPRI's research covers international conflicts, armaments, arms control and disarmament.