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A Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago)

A Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago)

Still Leading Merchants of Death, US Arms Sales Remain Sky High

U.S. and Western European companies together account for 80.3 percent of the arms revenue for the top 100 firms worldwide

Sarah Lazare

Amid raging conflicts and historic human displacement, U.S.-based companies are still leading the world in arms sales—dominating the list of the top 100 weapons-producers and accounting for 54.4 percent of total revenues, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed Monday.

Examining data from the 100 largest "arms-producing and military services" firms in the globe, SIPRI found that U.S. and Western European companies together account for 80.3 percent of the arms revenue for the top 100 giants worldwide.

This is a large slice of a giant pie. Last year, sales of arms by the top 100 totaled $401 billion, SIPRI finds.

The report notes that worldwide weapons sales have seen a slight decline of 1.5 percent between 2013 and 2014, due to a moderate reduction in arms sales for North American and Western European producers.

However, the sales by the prominent U.S.-based firm Lockheed Martin are off the charts. A report summary notes, "One company bucking the downward trend is Lockheed Martin, which has occupied the first position in the Top 100 since 2009. Its arms sales grew by 3.9 percent in 2014 to $37.5 billion."

In addition, Boeing, which is ranked just below Lockheed, saw a $4.4 billion increase in arms sales in 2014 and $28.3 billion total.

Both Boeing and Lockheed are among the U.S. companies that have recently faced global criticism after respectively selling bombs and warships to Saudi Arabia, which faces numerous charges of war crimes and human rights violations for its military assault and naval blockade of Yemen.

Beyond the U.S. and Western Europe, SIPRI notes, Russia is seeing rising arms sales, now accounting for 11 of the top 100 companies. In addition, two Turkish weapons companies are also rising on the list.

However, the U.S. arms industry remains squarely in first place, amid warnings that such weapons sales—in addition to direct American military aggression—are fueling conflicts and wars across the world.

SIPRI's findings follow an Amnesty International report earlier this month which concluded that the atrocities of ISIS, also known as Daesh and the Islamic State, are fueled by "decades of reckless arms trading." As a result, the study finds, ISIS is now using arms originally manufactured and designed in dozens of countries, including the United States.

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