Arms Transfers: U.S. and Russia’s Biggest Trading Partners

This graphic highlights trade partners for U.S. and Russia arms transfers

Arms Transfers: U.S. and Russia’s Biggest Trading Partners

The increase in conflicts worldwide, including in Ukraine and the Middle East, has shifted global focus back onto arms transfers between countries.

For decades, countries proficient in arms manufacturing have supplied weapons to other countries in demand of them. At the helm of these trades are the U.S. and Russia, which have accounted for 57% of all international arms trades in the last 10 years.

So who are the largest importers of arms from these two countries, and what is the military value of these trades?

With the help of data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) arms transfer database, the above infographic by Ruben Berge Mathisen visualizes the top 50 biggest arms recipients by value for both the U.S. and Russia in the last decade.

The Military Valuation of Arms Transfers

The military valuation of arms is measured in terms of trend-indicator values (TIV). This valuation reflects the military capability of a particular item rather than its financial value.

Every weapon that falls under the conventional definition of major arms is allotted a TIV. The following are the most common weapons and components to be assigned a TIV.

  • Aircraft and armored vehicles
  • Artillery (>100mm in caliber)
  • Sensors and guided missiles, large air defense guns, torpedoes, and bombs
  • 100mm caliber artillery-armed ships (>100-tonne displacement)
  • Reconnaissance satellites and air refueling systems

Instead of focusing on budget, examining TIV makes it easier to measure trends in the flow of arms between particular countries and regions over time, essentially creating a military capability price index.

Biggest Recipients of U.S. Armaments

The United States is the largest exporter of arms globally, responsible for 35% of global exports over the last 10 years to about 130 nations.

Most recently, the biggest market for U.S. arms sales has been in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia being the most prominent recipient of weapons. Over the last decade, the country has purchased 24% of total U.S. arms exports, with components worth over 18 billion TIVs.

Here is a look at the top 50 recipients of arms from the United States:

U.S. Arms Transfer Recipient Continent TIV (Millions)
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia Asia 18,641
🇦🇺 Australia Oceania 8,668
🇰🇷 South Korea Asia 7,207
🇦🇪 UAE Asia 7,190
🇯🇵 Japan Asia 5,026
🇮🇳 India Asia 4,614
🇬🇧 United Kingdom Europe 4,332
🇶🇦 Qatar Asia 4,235
🇹🇼 Taiwan Asia 3,789
🇹🇷 Turkey Asia 3,722
🇮🇶 Iraq Asia 3,532
🇮🇱 Israel Asia 3,460
🇸🇬 Singapore Asia 2,571
🇦🇫 Afghanistan Asia 2,547
🇪🇬 Egypt Africa 2,334
🇮🇹 Italy Europe 2,281
🇲🇦 Morocco Africa 2,281
🇳🇴 Norway Europe 2,196
🇳🇱 Netherlands Europe 2,060
🇰🇼 Kuwait Asia 1,900
🇨🇦 Canada Americas 1,806
🇵🇰 Pakistan Asia 1,070
🇮🇩 Indonesia Asia 982
🇲🇽 Mexico Americas 782
🇴🇲 Oman Asia 779
🇯🇴 Jordan Asia 675
🇩🇰 Denmark Europe 548
🇧🇷 Brazil Americas 510
🇸🇪 Sweden Europe 505
🇨🇴 Colombia Americas 472
🇵🇭 Philippines Asia 450
🇫🇷 France Europe 438
🇫🇮 Finland Europe 389
🇬🇷 Greece Europe 359
🇱🇧 Lebanon Asia 350
🇹🇭 Thailand Asia 342
🇵🇱 Poland Europe 336
🇨🇱 Chile Americas 335
🇪🇸 Spain Europe 292
🇷🇴 Romania Europe 275
🇹🇳 Tunisia Africa 251
🇩🇪 Germany Europe 221
🇧🇭 Bahrain Asia 187
🇵🇹 Portugal Europe 179
🇳🇬 Nigeria Africa 154
🇳🇿 New Zealand Oceania 150
🇧🇩 Bangladesh Asia 123
🇨🇭 Switzerland Europe 117
🇻🇳 Vietnam Asia 108
🇦🇷 Argentina Americas 103

The U.S. remains the biggest global exporter of weapons globally, however, sales of military equipment to foreign countries dipped by 21% over the previous fiscal year, dropping from $175 billion in 2020 to $138 billion in 2021.

Biggest Recipients of Russian Armaments

Russia, the world’s second-largest arms dealer, was responsible for 22% of global arms exports between 2011 and 2021.

In terms of TIVs, India remains the biggest importer of Russian weapons by a wide margin. India’s dependency on Russian-made arms is driven by its fight to quell the military assertiveness of China on one side and its constant skirmishes along the Pakistani border on the other.

But despite the continued support of Russia and its President by the Indian Prime Minister, even in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine, some reports have shown that India has been looking elsewhere for arms in the last few years.

Let’s take a look at some of the other biggest importers of Russian arms around the world:

Russian Arms Transfer Recipient Continent TIV (Millions)
🇮🇳 India Asia 22,869
🇨🇳 China Asia 9,419
🇩🇿 Algeria Africa 7,235
🇻🇳 Vietnam Asia 5,554
🇪🇬 Egypt Africa 3,998
🇮🇶 Iraq Asia 2,015
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan Asia 1,967
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan Asia 1,841
🇻🇪 Venezuela Americas 1,743
🇸🇾 Syria Asia 1,729
🇧🇾 Belarus Europe 1,190
🇲🇲 Myanmar Asia 856
🇺🇬 Uganda Africa 611
🇦🇪 UAE Asia 578
🇦🇴 Angola Africa 501
🇮🇩 Indonesia Asia 490
🇮🇷 Iran Asia 476
🇧🇩 Bangladesh Asia 454
🇦🇫 Afghanistan Asia 441
🇵🇰 Pakistan Asia 437
🇦🇲 Armenia Asia 373
🇹🇷 Turkey Asia 344
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan Asia 307
🇷🇸 Serbia Europe 296
🇳🇬 Nigeria Africa 249
🇸🇩 Sudan Africa 244
🇵🇪 Peru Americas 221
🇯🇴 Jordan Asia 204
🇲🇳 Mongolia Asia 171
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan Asia 156
🇳🇮 Nicaragua Americas 121
🇱🇦 Laos Asia 118
🇰🇼 Kuwait Asia 113
🇧🇷 Brazil Americas 98
🇸🇸 South Sudan Africa 82
🇲🇱 Mali Africa 73
🇪🇹 Ethiopia Africa 69
🇹🇭 Thailand Asia 68
🇿🇦South Africa Africa 50
🇨🇲 Cameroon Africa 45
🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan Asia 41
🇷🇼 Rwanda Africa 41
🇶🇦 Qatar Asia 40
🇱🇾 Libya Africa 36
🇧🇭 Bahrain Asia 31
🇹🇯 Tajikistan Asia 30
🇨🇾 Cyprus Asia 28
🇨🇬 Republic of the Congo Africa 27
🇬🇭 Ghana Africa 27
🇺🇦 Ukraine Rebels Europe 24

One relationship of significance is Russia’s provided weapons to Pro-Russia Ukrainian Rebels. Since 2014, Russia has offered arms and training to these rebels in their fight. These have included weapons of all sorts, from pistols and mines to tanks and missile launchers.

Effect of the War on Ukraine on Arms Trades

According to the latest data from SIPRI, the international arms trade fell by 4.6% in the last five-year period. Despite this, Europe has become a new hotspot for arms imports, seeing a 19% increase in arms transfers over the same time period.

Countries like the U.K., Netherlands, and Norway were the largest importers, and other countries might follow suit.

Experts claim that this upsurge is attributed to the crumbling relationship between Russia and Europe. Alarmed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European countries have been reevaluating their defense budgets—as exemplified by Germany’s recent €100 billion commitment to boost its military strength.

In the coming years, the U.S. and Russia’s biggest arms transfer partners are likely to shift. But which way will arms transfers trend?

The post Arms Transfers: U.S. and Russia’s Biggest Trading Partners appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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