As orders for defence equipment at home decline, France, Germany and Russia are intensifying their efforts to sell to developing countries.
The German government approved export licenses for weapons worth almost €6 billion last year, including a record amount for deals with non-NATO countries, according to Germany’s vice-chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel.
German arms-makers shipped €562 million worth of arms to developing countries, including €12 million to the world’s poorest nations, the annual government report on weapons exports published this month says.
According to the report, the value of arms export licences granted in 2013 stood at €5.85 billion – a 24 percent rise on 2012 and the highest figure since 2004. Germany’s biggest customers were Algeria, Qatar, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Israel.
Meanwhile, France also reported a 42 per cent increase in weapons sales or €6.7 billion in 2013 compared to 2012 and are expected to exceed seven billion Euros this year.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Lodrian said that his country recorded a strong comeback in the Middle East market and that the region is responsible for generating 40 per cent of France's total exports and it has also increased its presence in the Asia and Latin America markets.
France's biggest contracts in 2013 were a deal to renew the Saudi Arabian navy's fleet of ships, worth €500 million; a contract to sell a communication satellite to Brazil is worth €300 million.
Russia, on the hand, has surged past Germany and France in terms of arms sales. Russian arms export agency, Rosoboronexport has achieved sales worth $1 billion in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia among others over the last few years.
This is in contrast to American and European defense contractors who have secured fewer contracts than Rosoboronexport in those countries.
Nikolai Dimidyuk, Rosoboronexport’s Special Project Director told Defenseworld.net that it was good marketing of activities that helped secure contracts. “We try to present as much equipment and materials as we can. We pay special attention to the establishment of joint ventures with the countries. High quality, post-sales services, training and prospective for reconditioning and over haul”.
Among the major contracts it secured is a $470 million contract from Indonesia in 2012 for six Sukhoi Su-30MK2 jet fighters for the Indonesian Air Force.