Top Arms Exporting Countries

Name the fifteen countries that export the most weapons.
For the ten-year period, 2011–2020
According to SIPRI
Quiz by cuotak
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Last updated: September 25, 2021
First submittedAugust 15, 2013
Times taken43,423
Average score80.0%
Rating4.88
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$ Billion
Country
97.0
United States
64.3
Russia
19.4
France
15.1
China
14.1
Germany
$ Billion
Country
11.1
United Kingdom
9.42
Spain
6.99
Italy
6.76
Israel
5.57
Netherlands
$ Billion
Country
5.02
South Korea
4.91
Ukraine
3.04
Sweden
2.63
Switzerland
2.00
Canada
+13
Level 63
Sep 19, 2014
Switzerland as an arms exporter surprised me. I just wouldn't assume they would be in the business of producing arms let alone selling them. Unless this includes the exportation of arms to allied nations (UN Members)?
+6
Level 77
Oct 27, 2014
Same here. I always thought they were neutral - I guess that means they can supply both sides.
+117
Level 92
Jun 15, 2017
It's all of the Swiss Army Knives
+2
Level 63
Oct 14, 2017
LoL Stevediverse,love it.
+38
Level 67
Jun 20, 2017
Switzerland is heavily militarized. Mandatory service, soldiers bring their guns home with them, tunnels and facilities underground all over the place. They are militantly neutral.
+8
Level 74
Jun 25, 2017
And founded by mercenaries back in the day...
+16
Level 74
Oct 14, 2017
"Neutral" doesn't mean, they don't profit from wars; look i.e. on their role in WWII.
+2
Level 64
Oct 14, 2017
Must be all those Swiss Army knives
+1
Level 31
Oct 15, 2017
Agreed
+9
Level 62
Oct 16, 2017
I think some of the posters misunderstand one thing: the European countries have a heavy cross-border consolidation of the arms industry. So the exports you see from, say, Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland are the share of production that is statistically allocated to them. For example, Switzlerland is the home of a company that produces very advanced armored personnel carriers. The owner of this company is a German firm. The machine gun and anti-aircraft manufacturer Örlikon is also Swiss. And so on. The clients are mostly Middle Eastern and South-East Asian.
+9
Level 69
Sep 27, 2019
If you want peace, prepare for war.
+5
Level 81
Aug 22, 2021
Neutral doesn't mean pacifist. In fact, in practice it often means you need to be armed to the teeth, because if anyone attacks you, you've got no allies coming to your aid. It also means you don't have treaties with allies to supply you with all those weapons. The result? You make them yourself. And if you're doing that, you may as well make a few extra and make a buck off it all. So that's what Switzerland does.
+1
Level 65
Sep 30, 2021
I think being a UN member hardly makes countries allies since nearly every country is a member, including ones that are outright enemies e.g. South and North Korea or Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Switzerland does not have any formal allies, or enemies for that matter. I guess it's as ander217 said and they can just supply all sides of a conflict. I did some research and found an article that said their biggest clients in 2019 were, in descending order, Denmark, Germany, Romania, Bangladesh, and the USA. So the first three can hardly be seen as threats to global peace, but Bangladesh and some of their other clients including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are more problematic and known for massive human rights violations.
+1
Level 67
Sep 30, 2021
Surprised me too. In fact I started typing it but then stopped as it just felt wrong. Only one I missed!
+1
Level 44
Oct 1, 2021
there are more guns than people in switzerland
+2
Level 36
Jan 6, 2015
Forgot Israel - stupid! Surprised by Switzerland!
+8
Level 65
Jan 10, 2015
Remember arms include everything from fighter jets and tanks to guns and bullets. Switzerland is famous for its rifles.
+1
Level 71
Jun 20, 2017
Grenades, Tanks, Ammunition etc.
+1
Level 74
Jun 20, 2017
Also hunting and sporting arms?
+2
Level 63
Jun 21, 2017
If that's the case, then it seems like sales of rifles, knives, armor, etc would be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things since the Joint Strike Fighters are selling for over 100 million dollars per plane. How many rifles equals a tank or a plane
+5
Level 70
Oct 16, 2017
They don't equal that. Switzerland is still 12 places behind the USA.
+2
Level 74
Jun 15, 2017
Really surprised by the Ukraine.
+6
Level 52
Nov 17, 2019
I meant they were former Soviets and they have a better army/military than you think!
+8
Level 75
Jun 16, 2017
Realy surprised with the all of those peacekeepers...
+2
Level 87
Jun 19, 2017
Remember that just because you export something doesn't mean that you produce it. Just like unofficial diplomatic communications go through intermediary countries, I imagine that companies in so called "neutral" countries still purchase arms from major manufacturers and send them in small quantities to less than desirable peoples. That was very very common in the pre 9/11 world.
+2
Level 63
Jun 19, 2017
Netherlands?
+3
Level 52
Oct 14, 2017
Mainly ships (Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding) and naval surveillance systems (Thales goalkeeper systems)

Stork builds parts for fighter jets.

DAF generally produces trucks, and also sells trucks to the military.

+1
Level 59
Oct 14, 2017
These figures probably do not account for the black market and other illegal transactions. Or maybe thousands of old automatic rifles with ammunition are not as valuable as a couple of high-tech fighter jets. I'm not an expert, so I don't know the prices of these things.
+2
Level 84
Sep 11, 2018
The source does include a category for unknown suppliers. Their numbers are absolutely dwarfed by all the big countries.
+7
Level 72
Oct 14, 2017
You see the hypocrisy at work in this list. All those countries that thumb their noses at the US for it's violence making a a lot of money with weapons.
+12
Level 68
Oct 14, 2017
Does that excuse the US public from believing they need to be armed with high-powered rifles? Also, the US sells more weapons than every other name on this list put together. Americans first need to get their own house in order, as you point out.
+2
Level 81
Apr 10, 2020
You only show your complete ignorance by calling them "high power rifles." Define a "high power rifle." And what US citizens own is none of your business. In fact, it's almost like you want more Americans to die considering what happens in gun free US cities.

In other news, the majority of the US' clients are countries that are trying to defend themselves, like Taiwan and Israel, or Europe. In fact, they throw a hissy fit when the US decides to stop throwing weapons at them. Interesting how Russia and the PRC get no flack for their clients, which consist mainly of terrorist Islamist states, Communist shitholes, African tinpot dictators....

+2
Level 67
Oct 1, 2021
@kanzaz

Are you upset? You seem upset. :)

+1
Level 61
Oct 14, 2017
I was surprised with Ukraine. Wonder what weapons they make.
+1
Level 60
Feb 23, 2021
Probably some soviet tech
+8
Level 35
Oct 14, 2017
Israel dealing with weapons?? Such peaceful people, always suffering, oppressed by their gigantic tough neighbours...I'm quite surprised by this news...
+15
Level 83
Oct 15, 2017
What a dumb strawman argument. Nobody ever said Israel was a hippie commune without any weapons. They've been fighting for their survival since day one. Of course they have weapons.
+10
Level ∞
Jul 30, 2019
Can you even imagine what would happen if Israel decided to adopt pacifism and just disband their military? Anyone calling for them to do so is naive.
+8
Level 43
Nov 17, 2019
I mean I guess they could defend themselves without stealing any more land to Palestine
+4
Level 83
Nov 17, 2019
Israel has been in a state of war, that the Arab League declared, since the day after the Israeli declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate of Palestine. Though peace treaties were brokered with Egypt and Jordan, there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state that Israel recognized in order to establish relations with, and Israel is still technically in a state of war with some of the other countries that attacked them in '48. The last time Israel took any significant amount of land from anyone was in 1967, and this land was taken from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, whom Israel was at war with at the time. Yasser Arafat did not declare Palestinian independence until 1988.
+1
Level 83
Sep 30, 2021
It actually has a lot to do with that. The biggest weapons sellers are all countries that produce the most weapons for their own use, and then sell off surplus or older supply to other countries. You're never going to see Costa Rica on this list.
+1
Level 82
Sep 30, 2021
Remember, Israel gave, or rather sold, Uzis to the world. From the Wikipedia article: "The Uzi has been exported to over 90 countries. Over its service lifetime, it has been manufactured by Israel Military Industries, FN Herstal, and other manufacturers. From the 1960s through the 1980s, more Uzi submachine guns were sold to more military, law enforcement and security markets than any other submachine gun ever made."

I'm surprised Austria (home of Glock) didn't make the list, although admittedly Glock firearms are not all manufactured in Austria.

+1
Level 83
Sep 30, 2021
I thought of Austria with Glock and Steyr. Also Belgium, which as you mention, has FN. But assuming the small arms don't add up as much as the larger weapon systems sold by other countries.
+5
Level 77
Oct 15, 2017
This quiz is quite eye opening. Western countries make massive profits selling weapons to be used in third world conflicts. Sort of a modern day colonialism.
+15
Level ∞
Jul 30, 2019
I'm sure third world countries would be happy to export arms if they were making anything that anyone wanted.
+3
Level 77
Oct 19, 2017
This one really tells a story
+4
Level 84
Sep 11, 2018
Informative quiz! One small suggestion: I think totals (i.e. dollar amounts) would be more interesting to see than ranks.
+3
Level ∞
Jul 30, 2019
Done.
+1
Level 44
Sep 10, 2020
What about Japan?, I'm not saying it should be on the list though
+1
Level 50
Sep 30, 2021
Japan doesn't even have a military... I don't think they are much into the arms business.
+3
Level 64
Sep 30, 2021
They call it a "Self-Defense Force" but I can assure you they are better equipped than most militaries
+2
Level 65
Sep 30, 2021
NATO Countries: Noooo war is so bad stoooop!!

Also NATO Countries: I can earn money from war? Nice! I mean noooooooooo so bad stooop! (but give me money pls)

+1
Level 83
Sep 30, 2021
You see that Russia is #2 on this list, right? But, yeah, don't let that stop your greedy consumption of propaganda...
+1
Level 47
Sep 30, 2021
How do you color the text in a quiz? I'm not sure how that works.
+3
Level 47
Sep 30, 2021
who's the one consuming propaganda here? The NATO countries combined earn more than double Russia and China combined. A majority of the top 15 countries are NATO members. OP's point, based on the numbers, is totally valid.
+1
Level 83
Sep 30, 2021
The commenter who is convinced that NATO is somehow a bad thing is the one consuming propaganda. That should be obvious. And it should be obvious whose interests it's in to try and poison people against NATO.
+1
Level 67
Oct 1, 2021
Fun fact about NATO: it has no reason to exist and should have been disbanded thirty years ago. :)
+1
Level 83
Oct 4, 2021
fun fact about canadry: he once called Pol Pot's Cambodia, Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China, Kim Il Sung's North Korea, and the Derg's Ethiopia the "coolest countries ever."

Thanks for shoring up my point, comrade.

+1
Level 67
Oct 4, 2021
Cooler than you are, dude.
+1
Level 83
Oct 4, 2021
Excellent comeback. You're right, I'm about 65-70 million short of matching these guys' total body count. How could I hope to compete with those numbers.
+1
Level 57
Feb 6, 2022
Hey don't give up Kal, I'm sure you can match them with some time and effort.
+1
Level 59
Sep 30, 2021
Missed Netherlands and Switzerland, they sort of crossed my mind but I was impatient and gave up
+1
Level 48
Oct 1, 2021
south korea 69 what
+1
Level 66
Nov 1, 2021
How many "peaceful" countries - Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Germany - produce weapons for killing! Hypocrisy.
+1
Level 45
Nov 26, 2021
I missed sweden
+1
Level 67
Dec 8, 2021
I'm a little surprised Brazil isn't on the list, given that some of these numbers are kind of small. There aren't too many producers of military aircraft in the world and they seem like high-ticket items. Not enough, I suppose.
+1
Level 55
Jan 10, 2022
I for one am surprised Austria isn't on here, what with Glock being one of the most popular gun brands in the world right now.
+1
Level 19
Jan 11, 2022
Switzerland??? I'm Suprised
+1
Level 54
Feb 16, 2022
Switzerland may try to think us their neutral