6 Weapons Manufacturers Powering the Russian War Machine


Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently announced plans to increase the country’s defense spending by 50% in 2023. Even before the war began in February 2022, the military had long been a top priority for the Russian government. According to World Bank data, Russia’s military expenditures in the last 10 years accounted for anywhere from 10.8% to 14.8% of all government spending – well above the global average of 5.7%, 

Russia’s military spending has given rise to one of the largest defense industries in the world. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia is home to six of the world’s 100 largest defense contractors by arms sales, trailing only the U.S., China, and the U.K.

Using 2021 arms sales revenue data from SIPRI Arms Industry Database, 24/7 Wall St. identified the six largest Russian weapons manufacturers. Among the companies on this list, 2021 arms sales revenue ranges from $1.2 billion to $4.45 billion.

Unlike major American defense companies, many Russian defense contractors did not emerge organically in the private market. Rather, they were formed by a government order. The United Shipbuilding Corporation, for example, was established on March 21, 2007, by President Vladimir Putin’s Decree # 394. Today, it is the largest shipbuilding company in Russia, supplying the Russian Navy with nearly all of its warships. An estimated 79% of the company’s $5.1 billion in 2021 revenue came from arms sales. 

Other companies on this list manufacture weapons systems that have long been associated with Russia and former Soviet countries. They include United Aircraft Corp., another company founded by the Russian government to consolidate the country’s aerospace industry. UAC is the company behind the MiG-35 multirole fighter jet. (Here is a look at every plane used by the Russian military.)

Another company on this list, UralVagonZavod, manufactures the T-72 battle tank. Though the T-72 was first introduced in the Soviet era, thousands of them have been deployed in Ukraine in the last year. (Here is a look at how Ukraine’s newly bolstered tank army compares to Russia’s.)

Click here to see largest Russian weapons manufacturers.

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