BAE Systems tops list of world’s biggest defence supply companies

BAE Systems was the world’s top arms supplier in 2008, outstripping US defence groups for the first time due to demand for mine protection in Afghanistan, a report said yesterday.

The study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showed BAE had displaced US aviation firm Boeing from the top spot. Boeing dropped to third and Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defence contractor by market value, rose to second, SIPRI said. “BAE really shows the increasing internationalisation of the arms industry and the attractiveness of the US market,” said SIPRI researcher Susan Jackson, adding that a jump in US sales of armoured vehicles was a key factor in the ranking.