UK arms exports up 70% since 2006

The industry is targeting the Middle East and Asia but the biggest single market for British manufacturers is the US

Richard Norton Taylor
The Guardian, Monday 14 March 2011

British arms export orders increased by nearly 70% over the past four years, according to the latest figures released by a leading weapons trade monitoring organisation. The Middle East and Asia accounted for most British arms exports during that time, although the US was the largest single market for UK weapons.

Figures published by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute show that the sale of 72 Eurofighter/Typhoon aircraft and more than 200 armoured personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia, and Hawk and Jaguar jets to India, were among the biggest UK export deals.

The coalition is lending strong political support to British arms exports, the institute notes, as the Ministry of Defence becomes increasingly reliant on exports to reduce its costs. It is trying to sell Typhoons to Oman, and other weapons systems to Brazil.

« There is intense competition between suppliers for big-ticket deals in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America, » said Paul Holtom, the institute’s director for arms transfers programme. The states of the Middle East and North Africa are regarded as potentially lucrative markets for arms exporters, the report says.

Over the past four years, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, and Algeria, imported significantly more arms, with the US supplying Egypt and Israel with most of the weapons.

However, the four largest importers of conventional weapons in the same period were all Asian countries – India, China, South Korea, and Pakistan.

Over the past four years Britain was the fifth largest arms supplier, after the US, Russia, Germany, and France.

Source : The Guardian

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