June 5, 2012: In the last decade Spain has developed into a major weapons exporting nation. This year Spanish arms exports doubled (to $3.1 billion) over the last year. It was only seven years ago that Spanish defense sales were only $545 million. The following year they doubled to $1.1 billion. Most of Spain's exports are warships (surface ships and subs).
The war on terror caused a large jump in arms exports but the 2008, worldwide economic recession put a halt to that. In 2003, international arms exports amounted to $39 billion. By 2008, it reached nearly $70 billion. By last year these exports had declined to $40 billion. Throughout this period the U.S. accounted for about 38 percent of these exports, followed by Russia (18 percent) and West European nations (24 percent) and many others (20 percent). The top five nations were: the U.S. ($171 billion), Russia ($81 billion), France ($37 billion), Britain ($30 billion), and China ($16 billion). Spain is now firmly in the top ten. Most of the exports were to developing nations, which do not yet have large enough arms industries to supply their own needs. The main customers for all these implements of destruction have been India, Middle Eastern oil states, and China.