Defence sales in the top 100 arms-producing countries declined for the first time since 1994 as the global economic crisis forced countries to cut their military budgets, according to a report by a European research institute.
Total sales declined 5 percent to US$410bn in 2011, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its annual review of arms sales excluding China.
“Austerity policies and proposed and actual decreases in military expenditure as well as postponements in weapons programme procurement affected overall arms sales in North America and Western Europe,” the research firm said in a statement.
“The drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan and the sanctions on arms transfers to Libya also played a role,” it added.
US-based defence companies dominated the list with Boeing knocking British aerospace giant BAE Systems off the second spot, behind Lockheed Martin, which generated sales of US$46.5bn in 2011. The US's General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman also made the top ten.