Arms production and exports continue to be a profitable business for many countries and companies, according to the new edition of the SIPRI annual report. The SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies (2017), reported that sales of weapons and military equipment from the world’s largest companies reached $398.2 billion in 2017, and total sales of Top 100 companies of SIPRI are 2.5 percent higher than those in 2016.

Compared to 2002, the increase is 44 percent, while a steady increase in arms sales was reported for the third consecutive year.

At the top of the list is the United States, with US manufacturers accounting for 75 percent of total sales in 2017. 42 US companies are in Top 100 with a total revenue of $226.6 billion.

For the first time Russian companies ranked second in the SIPRI ranking, outpacing the UK, which has held this position since 2002. Manufacturers in Russia have increased their production by 8.5 percent and now reach a total share of 9.5 percent, it amounts to 33 billion euros.

In Europe, Britain remains the largest arms dealer with a share of 9 percent. The four German defense companies have increased their production by 10 percent – thus, Germany has a share of 2.1 percent of global arms sales.

In the top 100 there are also producers from Poland, Brazil, India, Turkey, Ukraine, but not from Bulgaria.

In 1982, arms exports brought the biggest profit of all our country’s total export – 9.1 percent of export earnings. According to the analysis, Bulgaria’s arms exports to the Third World tripled between 1979 and 1982 and reached $400-500 million in 1982. In the mid-1980s, Bulgaria was one of the world’s leading arms business leaders, following only giants like US, USSR, Great Britain and China.

The end of the Cold War has caused great disruption not only in the structure of the international system but also in a purely economic sense. The defense industry of a number of countries, especially those that worked mainly for export, has experienced shock. In the former Republic of Czechoslovakia, arms production and sales have fallen by nearly 50 percent, and in Bulgaria the number of employees in the industry has fallen from about 110,000 to less than 20,000.

Unlike most eastern European countries, Bulgaria is late in restructuring its defense industry. It was not until 1998 that the program of privatization of the military-industrial complex was adopted, which effectively put an end to the moratorium that existed until then. However, privatization did not solve all the problems of the restructured sector. The major ones today remain and they are in regard to the intellectual property of arms patents and licenses, the need for fresh capital and access to new markets and technologies.