UK is world's second largest arms exporter, thanks to West Asia

Topics UK | arms industry | West Asia

Representative image | Photo: Shutterstock
The UK won defense orders worth £11 billion ($14.2 billion) in 2019, keeping its place as the world’s largest exporter after the US.

The year was Britain’s second-best ever, behind a record £14 billion won in 2018, according to figures from the Department for International Trade. The country’s market share was about 16 per cent, compared with 47 per cent for the US, while Russia and France follow with 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

UK business remained strong “despite no major platform orders in 2019,” the state department said. Major orders in the past decade have included Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft built by BAE Systems Plc and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, for which the U.K. firm makes the tail, real fuselage and electronic warfare systems.

Many aerospace companies are looking to boost their military business as the Covid-19 pandemic hits demand for commercial aircraft. Companies focused on defence like BAE, Europe’s biggest armaments firm, have held up better than the likes of Airbus SE and Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc.

The global defense export market decreased to $89 billion in 2019 from $100 billion in 2018, according to the report. The industry experiences “peaks and troughs” in response to fluctuating spending on defense, threat perception and national requirements. 
The UK continues to export most of its weapons to the Middle East, with Europe and North America the next largest markets.

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