A new report by IHS indicates that the global defense market saw increased trading activity for the sixth consecutive year, a 13.4 percent growth rate from $56.8 billion in 2013 to $64.4 billion in 2014.
“This record figure has been driven by unparalleled demand from the emerging economies for military aircraft and an escalation of regional tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific,” Ben Moores, IHS senior defense analyst for aerospace, defense and security, said Saturday.
The “Global Defense Trade Report,” which is based on analysis of 40,000 defense programs across 65 countries, found that Saudi Arabia has overtaken India as the largest defense equipment importer and U.S. trading partner.
It is also one of the top trading partners of the U.K., along with Indonesia, Sweden and Nigeria, IHS said.
According to the report, the Middle Eastern country’s weapons importation increased by 54 percent from 2013 to 2014, and will grow a further 52 percent this year.
Saudi Arabia also joins the United Arab Emirates as the region’s leaders in defense trading opportunities, which IHS projects will reach $110 billion over the next decade.
The Middle East as a whole imports the most from the U.S., followed by the U.K., Russia, France and Germany.
IHS said the Asia-Pacific defense market is also seeing growth as China is named the third largest importer and South Korea is poised to export $35 billion of defense equipment within 10 years.
Russia also saw an increase in exports, but the end of major programs, international sanctions and dropping oil prices are likely to affect its defense industry.
The report also listed the following companies as the top defense exporters in 2014:
- Lockheed Martin
- Airbus Group
- Russian Helicopters
- United Technologies Corp.
- BAE Systems