RUSSIA has overtaken the UK as the world’s second largest arms producer demonstrating its increased military capabilities, a leading research group has found. Britain has slipped to third place for the first time since 2002 after Moscow “experienced significant growth” in recent years.
The US comfortably maintained top spot with sales worth $226.6bn (£178bn) in 2017 according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Analysis from the world’s 100 largest arms manufacturers found Russia achieved sales of $37.7bn (£29.6bn) compared to Britain’s $35.7bn (£28bn). In a statement SIPRI said: “The combined arms sales of Russian companies accounted for 9.5 per cent of the Top 100 total, making Russia the second largest arms producer in the Top 100 in 2017—a position that had been occupied by the United Kingdom since 2002.
“Taken together, the arms sales of the 10 Russian companies listed in the Top 100 increased by 8.5 per cent in 2017, to $37.7bn.”
Remarkably for the first time a Russia company appeared in the Top 10, Almaz-Antey the state-owned dealer increased sales by 19 per cent to $8.6bn.
The company created the S-400 air defence missile system, it is regarded as one of the most sophisticated surface-to-air defence systems in the world.
It has a range of 400km (248 miles) and can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously.
Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher at SIPRI said: "Russian companies have experienced significant growth in their arms sales since 2011.
“This is in line with Russia’s increased spending on arms procurement to modernise its armed forces.”
Meanwhile the UK remain the largest military suppliers in the EU with seven companies making the Top 100, with BAE systems ranked the fourth on the list.