International Trade of Arms: A Network Approach

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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. Based in Stockholm, SIPRI also has a presence in Beijing, and is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide.

The data provided by SIPRI covers trade of major conventional weapons (MCW) since 1950 until 2016. Over 32 000 arms exchanges took place in this period. It provides the most exhaustive collection of MCW trade that is available and gives detailled information on the type of weapon traded. A further advantage is the unique system of how to measure the volume of arms trade. The constructed trend-indicator value (TIV) is based on production costs and does not represent sales prices but the value of military resources of arms transfers. This makes comparison between trades and over years possible.


Founded in 1959, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) is an independent research institution known for its effective synergy of basic and policy-relevant research. In addition to such research, PRIO conducts graduate training and is engaged in the promotion of peace through conflict resolution, dialogue and reconciliation, public information and policymaking activities. Under a coalition of PRIO, the Norwegian Red Cross, Norwegian Church Aid the Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers (NISAT) was formed in December 1997. Its ultimate aim is to contribute to preventing and reducing armed violence. Small arms comprise weapons such as rifles, pistols and shotguns; and light weapons include mortars, machine guns and man-portable missile launchers.

The small arms and light weapons (SALW) data provided by NISAT covers the years from 1992 to 2014. More then 135 000 SALW trades were collected and systemized into weapons categories.