Saudi Arabia became the world’s largest arms importer from 2014 to 2018, accounting for 12 percent of the imports, an increase of 192 percent over 2009-2013, according to the latest report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
According to data for 2018, the United States continued to supply the bulk of arms to Saudi Arabia, accounting for 88 percent of all arms sold to the country.
Between 2014 and 2018, Saudi Arabia received 22 percent of the US’s arms exports, a sharp increase from 4.9 percent from 2009 to 2013.
The data includes major arms, such as armoured vehicles, guided missiles, aircraft, artillery and ships.
Arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia in 2014-2018 included 56 combat aircraft from the US and 38 from the United Kingdom, according to the report. In both cases, the aircraft were equipped with cruise missiles and other guided weapons.
Planned deliveries for 2019-2023 include 98 combat aircraft, seven missile defence systems and 83 tanks from the US, 737 armoured vehicles from Canada, five frigates from Spain and short-range ballistic missiles from Ukraine, according to SIPRI.
The report noted that arms flows to the Middle East have surged, almost doubling in the past five years.
Four of the world’s top 10 arms-importing countries in 2014-2018 were in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, which received 33 percent of arms transfers to the region, Egypt at 15 percent, the United Arab Emirates 11 percent and Iraq 11 percent.
Shown below are the countries that export the most major weapons to Saudi Arabia.