Spain exported more than 3 billion weapons in 2021

© La Vanguardia

Weapons worth 200 million euros went to these two countries. All this was before the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the subsequent geopolitical unrest. However, the total volume of arms exports was 9.1% less than that recorded in 2020.

Allied countries were main customers

The main customers of the national arms industry were allied countries such as France or Germany. Yet commercial ties were also strengthened with countries in more geopolitically difficult areas, such as Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Material was sold to these countries for an amount that was a multiple of that recorded in 2020.

Exported material used in war in Yemen?

According to the rules on trade in defense equipment, the government was to give the green light for all sales activities of this type of product. Several parliamentary groups on Wednesday asked Foreign Minister of Trade Xiana Méndez in parliament about the suspicion that this material could be used in the war in Yemen, in which Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are participating. The law prohibits the sale of weapons to countries where “there is reasonable evidence” that “they could be used for acts that disrupt peace, stability or security at a global or regional level”. According to the Foreign Minister, Spain has no evidence that any exported weapons are being used in the war in Yemen.

Arms sales to Persian Gulf countries continued to grow

Sales of Spanish weapons to the Persian Gulf monarchies have continued to grow in recent years: in 2021, the industry exported 109.1 million euros worth of defense equipment to Saudi Arabia (in 2020, the Saudi monarchy spent a total of 48.3 million); 73.7 million to the United Arab Emirates (compared to 27.7 million last year) and 33.3 million to Oman (31 million by 2020).

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia acquired for its armed forces “parts, pieces and spare parts” for Spanish-made military transport aircraft as well as “equipment, technology, parts and pieces of fighter aircraft”. The Saudis also bought “four troop ships, remote controls for weapons of various calibers, mortar shells” or “artillery shells”. It appears from the government report.


The Emirates bought a complete military transport aircraft, as well as “parts, parts and spare parts” for other aircraft, “remote controls for weapons of different caliber” or a mortar and various types of grenades and ammunition.


“65 non-armored Spanish vehicles” went to Oman, as well as “maritime security and surveillance systems, spare parts for an integrated air surveillance system and spare parts for an anti-aircraft gun.”

Other notable customers

Outside of EU and NATO allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the biggest buyers. However, these are not the only striking purchase deals. To Pakistan, for example, the national arms industry sold weapons and equipment for more than 40 million euros. Egypt bought “Spanish-made transport aircraft parts, parts and spare parts” for 27.6 million euros and the Philippines spent $ 51.3 million on a military transport aircraft, an “advanced observation system” and various weapons and ammunition.


According to the newspaper 20Minutos, Morocco deserves special mention. That country, despite the cooled diplomatic relations with Spain last year, bought weapons worth 14.9 million euros. That is almost 2.5 million euros more than the neighboring country’s spending on Spanish weapons and defense equipment by 2020.

See also: Spain still sends weapons to Ukraine

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