Saudi Arabia replaced India last year to become the biggest arms importer in the world, according to a new report on international defence spending.
Research company IHS said Saudi imports increased 54 percent between 2013 and 2014, and based on planned deliveries, imports will grow 52 percent to $9.8 billion (9 billion euros) in 2015.
“Growth in Saudi Arabia has been dramatic and, based on previous orders, these numbers are not going to slow down,” an IHS statement quoted its senior defence analyst Ben Moores as saying.
The report adds: “Saudi Arabia and UAE together imported $8.6 billion (8 billion euros)in defence systems in 2014, more than the imports of Western Europe combined.”
The United States remained the top defence exporter in 2014, ahead of Russia, France, Britain and Germany, in a top-five ranking unchanged from 2013, the annual study found.
IHS, a provider of global market and economic information, said the growth in supplies was due to expanding demand from emerging economies for military aircraft and rising tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Key Findings of the IHS Report on Defence Spending
- Global spending on defence systems has risen for the past 6 years and now stands at $64.4 billion (59 billion euros)
- One in every $7 dollars (6.5 euros) spent on defence imports in 2015 will be spent by Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia and the UAE together spend more on arms imports than the whole of western Europe
- The biggest beneficiary of the Middle Eastern market is the US, with $8.4 billion (7.7 billion euros) worth of exports to the region in 2014.
- 1/3 of all arms exports come from the US