China broke into the ranks of the five largest arms exporting countries for the first time since the end of the Cold War, displacing the UK in the volume of arms deliveries, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). The UK dropped from the list for the first time since at least 1950, the Swedish institute said.
In 2011, tor the eighth year in a row, the U.S. ranked first among exporters in the value of arms delivered. Helped by a huge sale of F-15s and other weaponry to Saudi Arabia in December, it also dominated in negotiating arms transfer agreements for future deliveries, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS).
China has threatened to impose sanctions against the U.S. companies whose equipment forms part of a controversial new arms package for Taiwan that was announced last Friday. They include Boeing and Sikorsky, who enjoy brisk sales
to China of airliners and civilian helicopters, respectively.
A computer-generated skeletal view of a military transport closely resembling the Boeing C-17 appeared in a promotional video released last year by Aviation Industries of China (AVIC). Coincidentally–or not–the FBI last week arrested a former Boeing engineer and charged him with passing trade secrets on the C-17 to China.
The UK government is leading a diplomatic effort to craft an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), but has reassured the defense industry that “responsible” exports will not be limited by the proposed worldwide pact. John Duncan, the British Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control, met industrialists at a defense exhibition in London last week.
U.S.-based Hawkins & Powers Aviation recently signed a letter of intent to take eight Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR715-powered Beriev Be-200 amphibious jets from Russia’s NPK Irkut. At the signing ceremony, NPK Irkut President Alexei Fedorov said the Be-200 program “is achieving global recognition.”