The global defense trade increased at a record pace last year, with the value of the market expanding by $6.6 billion to be worth $65 billion in 2015, according to a new report by IHS Jane's.
The annual increase was in part fuelled by tensions in areas including the South China Sea, sustained demand in the Middle East, and a "revival" of the French defense sector, the report released Sunday explained.
A list of top defense importers was dominated by the Middle East, which received about $21.6 billion in equipment deliveries over the year.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates together imported equipment worth $11.4 billion to account for about 17.5 percent of total global defense imports — more than all of Western Europe combined. That's compared to $8.6 billion the year before.
The U.S., meanwhile — which is the largest exporter to the Middle East — held the top spot as the world's largest exporter, supplying $22.9 billion worth of defense equipment up from just $12.9 billion in 2009. While the report says the rise can't be tied to one particular factor, it does highlight a ramp up in deliveries of newly developed F-35 fighter jets.