STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Britain's BAE Systems has become the first non-U.S. company to top global arms sales, a Swedish defense think tank said Monday.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said the company sold $32.4 billion of weapons in 2008, placing it ahead of U.S. companies Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. -- the previous No. 1.
BAE Systems PLC boosted its sales partly through U.S. orders of mine-resistant vehicles for use in Afghanistan and Iraq, SIPRI said.
"The company is based in the U.K., but does more than half of its business in the USA," SIPRI arms industry expert Susan Jackson said in a statement. "BAE really shows the increasing internationalization of the arms industry and the attractiveness of the U.S. market."
Air defense systems maker Almaz-Antei was the first Russian company to enter the top 20, with arms sales of $4.3 billion in 2008, the report said.
"The continued upswing in many Russian arms-producing companies is the combined effect of longer term increases in exports and the more recent increases in domestic arms procurement," Jackson said.
SIPRI said the world's top 100 arms vendors had total sales of $385 billion in 2008, up nearly $40 billion from the previous year.