Some countries have comprehensive weapons industries and are capable of maintaining their militaries with enough supply left over to export various arms to allies and clients around the world.
These same countries are also often among the world’s largest importers of weapons. Other countries, however, rely much more heavily on arms deals with other, large, arms-producing nations.
The United States is notably not just by far the world’s largest military force, but also by far the largest supplier of arms. The U.S.’s supplies arms to at least 98 nations, and it is the largest supplier to 20 of the 40 largest arms importers in the world.
To identify the world’s biggest arms importers and their biggest suppliers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 40 countries with the largest total value of major arms imports during the 2014-18 five-year period from the report on major arms export volumes published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on March 11. Each country’s major suppliers, all major arms import and export data, as well as annual military expenditures in 2017, also came from SIPRI. Each country’s GDP per capita in 2016 came from the World Bank.