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20 Facts About the Arms Industry

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The arms industry, also known as the defense industry or the arms trade, is a global industry responsible for the manufacturing and sales of weapons and military technology.

The military, also called the armed forces, are forces authorized to use deadly force, and weapons, to support the interests of the state and some or all of its citizens.

A weapon, arm, or armament is any device used with intent to inflict damage or harm to living beings, structures, or systems.

Industry is the production of goods or related services within an economy.

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It consists of a commercial industry involved in the research and development, engineering, production, and servicing of military material, equipment, and facilities.

Engineering is the application of mathematics, empirical evidence and scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, innovate, design, build, maintain, research, and improve structures, machines, tools, systems, components, materials, processes and organizations.

Research and development, also known in Europe as research and technical development, is a general term for activities in connection with corporate or governmental innovation.

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Arms-producing companies, also referred to as arms dealers, defense contractors, or as the military industry, produce arms mainly for the armed forces of states.

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Departments of government also operate in the arms industry, buying and selling weapons, munitions and other military items.

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Products include guns, artillery, ammunition, missiles, military aircraft, military vehicles, ships, electronic systems, night vision devices, holographic weapon sights, laser rangefinders, laser sights, hand grenades, landmines and more.

Ammunition is the general term used for many kinds of propellant and projectile weapons — broadly, any expendable weapon that can be used in combat, including bombs, missiles, warheads, land mines, naval mines, and anti-personnel mines.

A holographic weapon sight or holographic diffraction sight is a non-magnifying gun sight that allows the user to look through a glass optical window and see a reticle image superimposed at a distance on the field of view.

A land mine is an explosive device concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets, ranging from combatants to vehicles and tanks, as they pass over or near it.

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The arms industry also provides other logistical and operational support.

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Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated in 2012 that 2012 military expenditures were roughly 1.8 trillion United States dollars.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is an independent international institute in Sweden, dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its insular territories.

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This represents a relative decline from 1990 when military expenditures made up 4% of world GDP.

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Part of the money goes to the procurement of military hardware and services from the military industry.

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The combined arms sales of the top 100 largest arms-producing companies amounted to an estimated $395 billion in 2012 according to SIPRI.

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In 2004 over $30 billion were spent in the international arms trade.

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According to SIPRI, the volume of international transfers of major weapons in 2010–14 was 16 per cent higher than in 2005–2009.

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The five biggest exporters in 2010–2014 were the United States, Russia, China, Germany and France, and the five biggest importers were India, Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country consisting of territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories.

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe.

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Many industrialized countries have a domestic arms-industry to supply their own military forces.

A developed country, industrialized country, or "more economically developed country", is a sovereign state that has a highly developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less industrialized nations.

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Some countries also have a substantial legal or illegal domestic trade in weapons for use by its citizens.

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Illegal trade in small arms occurs in many countries and regions affected by political instability.

A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly.

In international arms control, small arms include revolvers and pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, submachine guns and light machine guns.

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The Small Arms Survey estimates that 875 million small arms circulate worldwide, produced by more than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries.

The Small Arms Survey is an independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Contracts to supply a given country's military are awarded by governments, making arms contracts of substantial political importance.

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The link between politics and the arms trade can result in the development of what U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower described as a military-industrial complex, where the armed forces, commerce, and politics become closely linked, similarly to the European defence procurement.

The military–industrial complex is an informal alliance between a nation's military and the defense industry which supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy.

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American politician and general who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.

European multilateral defence procurement refers to the collective armaments purchasing policies of European nations.

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Various corporations, some publicly held, others private, bid for these contracts, which are often worth many billions of dollars.

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