Three Indian defence manufactures including state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Bharat Electronics are among the top 100 manufacturers globally.
According to a report titled ‘Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies, 2020’ released by the Swedish think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), these Indian companies are now in the top 100 global companies which are into manufacturing plans, arms, military platforms and weapons.
Despite the global lockdown due to COVID-19, while HAL ranked 42nd, BEL is at 66th position which has gone up and the erstwhile OFB stands at 60th position as its sales increased in 2020 marginally by around 0.2 percent.
The report states that the aggregated arms sales of these three Indian companies are USD6.5 billion (around Rs 48,750 crore); higher by 1.7 per cent in 2020 compared to what it was in 2019. And, this according to the report “accounted for 1.2 per cent of the Top 100’s total (sales)”.
Topping the list is the United States of America hosted the highest number of companies (41) which are at different ranks in the top 100 as the arms sales touched USD 285 billion, a jump by 1.9 percent year-over-year. The top five companies are from the US, said the report.
China, according to SIPRI, stands at number two to the US in terms of manufacturing military equipment, arms and weapons. The report has stated that five Chinese companies made it to Top 100 based on their combined sales which is estimated to be USD66.8 billion in 2020, an increase of 1.5 percent more than in 2019. And, out of the five, three companies of Chinese origin figure in the list of Top 10 companies.
In 2020, it is estimated that the arms sales by Chinese companies touched USD17.9 billion and NORINCO (ranked 7th) sales rose by 12 percent as it has been involved in the emerging technologies and was the contributor to the development of the BeiDou military–civil navigation satellite system.
The arms sales for AVIC (ranked 8th), main military aircraft producer of China, has declined by 1.4 percent in 2020 and stands at USD 17 billion. While the arms sales by this company increased in nominal terms, it is estimated that the decrease is due to exchange rate fluctuations.
CETC which ranked 9th in the Top Companies considered to be China’s leading producer of military electronics witnessed its sales slipping by 6 percent in 2020 as it touched USD 14.6 billion.
The Chinese companies which made it to the Top 100 in arms sales are state-owned enterprises and they produce both civilian and military products and the revenue generated from civilian sales.
The companies from the United Kingdom made it to the third position in the Top 100.
Russia has been slipping down in the rankings since 2017. In 2020, Russian companies’ arms sales reached USD 26.4 bn witnessing a decrease by 6.5% on an annual basis.
The Turkish defence industry witnessed a surge in 2020 and is ranked at 51st position. Aselsan, the only Turkish defense company, entered the list with arms sales worth $2.2 billion in 2020 – an increase of 12 percent compared to previous year.
The three Indian companies managed to make a lot of sales to the Indian domestic market as the government had announced a phased ban on imports of more than hundred different military equipment and in an effort to enhance self-reliance in arms production locally.