Special Report

This Is the Country the US Government Sells the Most Weapons To

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The United States government has Ukraine with billions of dollars of weapons since the invasion began well more than a year ago. It plans to send 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks, set to be delivered some time this fall. The group of tanks will be just the latest in a vast armory of weapons that the country and its European allies have sent to the war-torn nation.

While the tanks, and much of the weaponry sent to Ukraine, will be given freely, there are lots of other cases around the world where the United States has approved weapons sales to its allies. The U.S. is the world’s leading arms exporter, shipping almost $9.4 billion in arms to nearly 100 different countries around the globe in 2020 alone. In recent years, 22 countries have spent over $1 billion purchasing weapons from the U.S.

To determine the countries buying the most weapons from the U.S. government, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database on the value of arms exports from the United States to other countries..

Since 2010, U.S. arms manufacturers have shipped over $105 billion worth of arms around the world. These shipments have gone to strategic allies in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere. The U.S. is, of course, not the only arms supplier. Many of the countries on this list also purchase significant amounts of arms from Russia, China, and other nations.

Though the U.S. has by far the world’s largest military budget of any nation, it does not have the largest military in the world when it comes to personnel. In fact, the U.S. ranks fifth after four other countries with at least 1 million armed services personnel. These are the newest guns to enter standard US military use.

Click here to see the countries buying the most weapons from the US government
Click here to read our detailed methodology

Source: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

25. Oman
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $0.78 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 24.7%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: UK, USA, Turkey
> National military expenditure, 2020: $6.73 billion (10.9% of GDP)

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Source: Azael Rodriguez / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

24. Mexico
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $0.81 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 43.4%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Netherlands, France
> National military expenditure, 2020: $6.12 billion (0.6% of GDP)

Source: Yamtono_Sardi / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

23. Indonesia
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $0.89 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 16.3%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Netherlands, South Korea
> National military expenditure, 2020: $9.40 billion (0.9% of GDP)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

22. Kuwait
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $1.37 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 75.4%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: N/A
> National military expenditure, 2020: $6.94 billion (6.5% of GDP)

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21. Netherlands
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $1.55 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 63.7%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Germany, Italy
> National military expenditure, 2020: $12.58 billion (1.4% of GDP)

Source: 12MN / iStock via Getty Images

20. Norway
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $1.83 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 61.4%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, South Korea, Italy
> National military expenditure, 2020: $7.11 billion (1.9% of GDP)

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

19. Canada
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $1.90 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 68.2%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Australia, Israel
> National military expenditure, 2020: $22.75 billion (1.4% of GDP)

Source: Emanuele Cremaschi / Getty Images News via Getty Images

18. Italy
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $2.06 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 64.4%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Germany, Italy
> National military expenditure, 2020: $28.92 billion (1.6% of GDP)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

17. Morocco
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $2.09 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 46.6%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, France, UK
> National military expenditure, 2020: $4.83 billion (4.3% of GDP)

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Source: John Moore / Getty Images

16. Pakistan
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $2.10 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 19.5%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: China, Russia, Italy
> National military expenditure, 2020: $10.38 billion (4.0% of GDP)

Source: Ed Giles / Getty Images

15. Egypt
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $2.56 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 20.9%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: Russia, France, USA
> National military expenditure, 2020: $4.51 billion (1.2% of GDP)

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14. Afghanistan
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $2.72 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 76.0%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Brazil, Belarus
> National military expenditure, 2020: $0.28 billion (1.4% of GDP)

Source: Joel Carillet / Getty Images

13. Israel
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $3.09 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 70.1%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Germany, Italy
> National military expenditure, 2020: $21.70 billion (5.6% of GDP)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

12. Singapore
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $3.15 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 53.2%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Spain, France
> National military expenditure, 2020: $10.86 billion (3.2% of GDP)

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11. Qatar
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $3.33 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 51.0%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, France, Germany
> National military expenditure, 2020: N/A (0.0% of GDP)

Source: Burak Kara / Getty Images

10. Turkey
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $3.70 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 48.6%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Italy, Spain
> National military expenditure, 2020: $17.72 billion (2.8% of GDP)

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Source: pixgrapher / Getty Images

9. Taiwan
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $3.70 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 96.7%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA
> National military expenditure, 2020: $12.15 billion (1.9% of GDP)

Source: Wathiq Khuzaie / Getty Images News via Getty Images

8. Iraq
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $3.87 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 51.7%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Russia, South Korea
> National military expenditure, 2020: $7.02 billion (4.1% of GDP)

Source: Scott Nelson / Getty Images

7. United Kingdom
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $3.88 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 71.4%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Spain, Germany
> National military expenditure, 2020: $59.24 billion (2.2% of GDP)

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Source: Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images News via Getty Images

6. India
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $4.22 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 11.7%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: Russia, France, Israel
> National military expenditure, 2020: $72.89 billion (2.9% of GDP)

Source: Chris McGrath / Getty Images News via Getty Images

5. Japan
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $4.52 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 94.0%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, UK, Sweden
> National military expenditure, 2020: $49.15 billion (1.0% of GDP)

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Source: Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

4. UAE
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $7.11 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 61.4%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, France, Russia
> National military expenditure, 2020: N/A (0.0% of GDP)

Source: Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images News via Getty Images

3. South Korea
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $7.82 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 70.3%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Germany, Spain
> National military expenditure, 2020: $45.74 billion (2.8% of GDP)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

2. Australia
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $9.13 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 67.0%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, Spain, Switzerland
> National military expenditure, 2020: $27.54 billion (2.1% of GDP)

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Source: Photo by Abid Katib / Getty Images

1. Saudi Arabia
> Arms imports from US, 2010-2020: $17.61 billion
> US arms imports as share of total, 2010-2020: 64.8%
> Largest arms suppliers, 2016-2020: USA, UK, France
> National military expenditure, 2020: $57.52 billion (8.4% of GDP)

Methodology

To determine the countries buying the most weapons from the U.S. government, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the value of arms exports from the United States to other countries from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database. Countries were ranked based on the total value of arms exports received from the United States from 2010 to 2020. Arms data covers actual deliveries of major conventional weapons. Supplemental data on arms imports from the U.S. as a share of a country’s total arms imports was calculated using data from SIPRI. Data on the largest arms suppliers by total value from 2016 to 2020, as well as national military expenditure in 2020 and national military expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product in 2020 came from SIPRI.

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