Weapons for Asia from Asia

Area of Scanning: Security System

Author: Nicola Gaye and Drew Menzies-McVey

What is Changing?

Many Asian nations are in the process of modernizing their military and military capabilities.  Countries such as Japan, Thailand, China, and India, are increasing their military spending and updating equipment.  This modernization translates to a growing number of locally-produced equipment.

The growth in local military equipment production is impacting the region’s export market.  China is now the fifth largest arms exporter in the world, with Pakistan as their leading customer.  It is believed that Pakistan is now producing more plutonium than any other country in the world.  In addition, Chinese companies selling drones are becoming a common staple at arms and aviation shows, featuring lower, more competitive prices. For example, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China sells a model for $1 million, which is less than those sold by United States and Israeli competitors.  China is now competing with Russia and the West, and may position itself as a lower-cost (but quality) alternative.


The growing number of equipment being produced within the region suggests Asia’s military powers will increasingly be founded on top-of-the-line kit developed within the region, rather than supplied by more traditional Western manufacturers.  As Asia decreases external purchases and increases internal production and sales, there may be significant implications for other countries that rely on the sale of weapons. 


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