The arms sales are the main source and strategically an important sector of the global econ- omy. This is essen tially a global industry that manu- factures and sells weapons and mili tary technology around the world.
Syed Afraz Ali Nazish
The arms industry, also known as the defense industry or the arms trade, is a global industry which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology, and is a major component of the Military industrial complex. It consists of a commercial industry involved in the research and
top 100 largest arms-producing companies and military services companies (excluding China) totaled $420 billion in 2019, accord ing to SIPRI. This was 4.6 percent higher than sales in 2017 and marks the fourth consecutive year of growth in Top 100 arms sales. In 2004 over $30 billion were spent in the international arms-trade (a figure that excludes domestic sales of arms). According to the institute, the volume of international nsfers of major weapons in 201419 was 7.8 percent higher than in 200913 and 23 percent higher than in 20042008. The five largest exporters in 201419 were the United States, Russia. France, Germany and China whilst the five biggest importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and Algeria
Many industrialized countries have a domestic arms-industry to supply their own military forces. Some countries also have a substantial legal or illegal domestic trade in weapons for use by their own citizens, primarily for self-defense, hunting or sporting purposes. Illegal trade in small arms occurs in many countries and regions affected by political instability. The Small Arms Survey estimates that 875 million small arms circulate worldwide, produced by more than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries.
Governments award contracts to supply
their country’s military; such arms contracts
can become of substantial political impor
development, engineering, production, and servicing of military material, equipment, and facilities. Arms-producing companies, also referred to as arms dealers, defense contractors, or as the military industry, produce arms for the armed forces of states and for civilians. Departments of govern ment also operate in the arms industry, buying and selling weapons, munitions and other military items. An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition – whether privately or publicly owned are made, maintained and repaired, stored, or issued, in any combination. Products of the arms. industry include guns, artillery, ammunition, missiles, military aircraft, military vehicles, ships, electronic systems, night-vision devices, holographic weapon sights, laser rangefinders, laser sights, hand grenades, land mines and more. The arms industry also provides other logistical and opera tional support
“The weak economies of Asian countries and the poverty of Africa have shaken the minds of the people of developed countries.”
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated military expenditures as of 2018 at $1822 billion. This represented a relative decline from 1990, when military expenditures made up 4% of world GDP Part of the money goes to the procurement of military hardware and services from the military industry. The combined arms-sales of the
Social Media has exposed the face of the civilized world.”
tance The link between politics and the arms trade can result in the development of what U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower described in 1961 as a military-industrial complex, where the armed forces, com merce, and politics become closely linked, similarly to the European multilateral defense procurement. Various corpora tions, some publicly held, others private, bid for these contracts, which are often worth many billions of dollars. Sometimes, as with the contract for the international Joint Strike Fighter, a competitive tendering process takes place, with the decision made on the merits of the designs submitted by the companies involved. Other times, no bidding or competition takes place
During the early modern period, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands and some states in Germany became self-sufficient in arms production, with diffusion and migra tion of skilled workers to more peripheral countries such as Portugal and Russia.
The modern arms industry emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century as a product of the creation and expansion of the first large military-industrial companies. As smaller countries (and even newly industri alizing countries like Russia and Japan) could no longer produce cutting-edge military equipment with their indigenous resources and capacity, they increasingly began to contract the manufacture of military equipment, such as battleships, artillery pieces and rifles to foreign firms.
In 1854, the British government awarded a contract to the Elswick Ordnance Company of industrialist William Armstrong for the supply of his latest breech loading rifled artillery pieces. This galvanized the private sector into weapons production, with the surplus being increasingly exported to foreign countries. Armstrong became one of the first international arms dealers, selling his weapon systems to governments across the world from Brazil to Japan. In 1884, he opened a shipyard at Elswick to specialize in warship productionat the time, it was the only factory in the world that could build a battleship and arm it completely. The factory produced warships for many navies, including the Imperial Japanese Navy. Several Armstrong cruisers played an important role in defeating the Russian fleet at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905.
In the American Civil War in 1861 the North had a small but cognizable advantage over the south due to its ability to produce (in relatively small numbers) breech-loading rifles for use against the muzzle-loading
rifled muskets the were largely the sole variety of shoulder arm utilized by the south. This began the transition to industrially produced mechanized weapons such as the Gatling gun.
This industrial innovation in the defense industry was adopted by Prussia in 1866 & 187071 in its defeat of Austria and France respectively. By this time the machine gun had begun entering into the militaries. The first example of its effectiveness was in 1899 during the Boer War and in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War. However, Germany were leaders in innovation of weapons and used this innovation nearly defeating the allies in World War I.
In 1885, France decided to capitalize on this increasingly lucrative form of trade and repealed its ban on weapon exports. The regulatory framework for the period up to the First World War was characterized by a laissez-faire policy that placed little obstruc- tion in the way of weapons exports. Due to the camage of
World War-l, arms traders began to be regarded with odium as “merchants of death” and were accused of having instigated and perpetuated the war in order to maximize their profits from arms sales. An
inquiry into these allegations in Britain failed to find evidence to support them. However, the sea change in attitude about war more generally meant that governments began to control and regulate the trade themselves.
The volume of the arms trade greatly increased during the 20th century, and it began to be used as a political tool, espe cially during the Cold War where the United States and the USSR supplied weapons to their proxies across the world, particularly third world countries (see Nixon Doctrine).
The world is facing a formidable challenge of the international arms trade that needs to be drastically reduced. It can eliminate the weapons and forge arms-control regimes. The international weapons trade is believed to be morally wearisome and some argue that trade is essential in a dangerous world.
The current picture depicts eruptive and disruptive scenarios, the international arms control and the non-proliferation regime have brought new security challenges, and the enormous growth of arms race and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have posed greater threats to humankind.
We can only conclude that there must be something seriously wrong with our progress and development, and if we do not check it in time, there could be disastrous consequences for the future of humanity. I am not at all against science and technol ogy-they have contributed immensely to the overall experience of humankind; to our material comfort and well-being and to our greater understanding of the world we live in. But if we give too much emphasis to science and technology, we are in danger of losing touch with those aspects of human knowledge and understanding that aspire towards honesty and altruism.