France Will Shift Russia In Position Runner Up Global Armaments Exporter

France Will Shift Russia In Position Runner Up Global Armaments Exporter

As is tradition, the position of the world's largest arms exporter is still firmly held by the United States. Meanwhile, Russia is in the second largest position as a global arms exporter. However, the dynamics that took place on the international market were so fast, the outbreak of the Ukrainian war more or less had the potential to shift Russia's position.

And as a challenger with a strong chance of replacing the runner up in global arms sales is France. Quoted from The Guardian (13/3/2023), Studies have shown that France has more major export orders than Russia, while the UK's share continues to shrink.

Arms sales from France have increased markedly to countries in Asia, Oceania and the Middle East over the past five years, demonstrating that the French defense industry could overtake Russia within a decade.

France's share of global defense exports reached 11 percent in the 2018-2022 period, up from 7.1 percent in 2013-2017 – an increase of 44 percent. The biggest importers of French arms are India, Qatar and Egypt.

At the same time, Russia's share of global arms exports fell by 31 percent – almost a quarter of all sales (22 percent) in the five years to 2017, or decreased to 16 percent over the last five years.

Russia's arms exports have fallen in the last three years, mainly for sales to China and Egypt, known as its two biggest markets. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said that the decline in Russian arms sales was partly because the buying country was under pressure from the United States.

For China, the decline in imports of weapons from China is partly due to the increasing ability of the Bamboo Curtain country to be self-sufficient in defense.

"It is likely that the volume of orders from these two countries will diminish in the coming years," said the authors of the Sipri report entitled Trends in International Arms Transfers. “Egypt, for example, canceled a large order for the (Sukhoi Su-35) fighter in 2022, and China is becoming less dependent on Russian imports as it increases its main weapons production capabilities at home.”

Sipri said that the low volume of major pending arms shipments from Russia indicated that its arms exports were likely to continue to fall in the coming years.

The report added: “Warplanes and combat helicopters have been one of Russia's main arms exports since 1992. A total of 328 of them were delivered in 2018–2022, which accounted for 40 percent of Russian arms exports in that period.

By the end of 2022, the delivery of only 84 combat aircraft and combat helicopters is pending. A Russian invasion of Ukraine will likely present an additional constraint on Russia's ability to export weapons, as it will likely prioritize arms production for its own military over exports.

Russia has been the world's second-biggest arms exporter for at least three decades, selling helicopters and warplanes a mainstay of its defense industry.

Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at Sipri and one of the report's authors, said France could move forward, given France's activism in expanding its defense sector and the impact of western sanctions and diplomatic efforts on Russia after Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Wezeman said: “France has seen a sharp increase in arms exports in terms of shipments. At the same time, the French arms industry, backed by the French government, has managed to sign larger deals for arms exports, with deliveries planned in the coming years.

The world's five largest defense exporters, namely the US, Russia, France, China and Germany, currently account for more than three-quarters (76 percent) of all arms exports.

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