ARMS manufacturers are making record profits from the war on terrorism and unprecedented spending on weapons programs.
The massive earnings have drawn condemnation from Australian defence experts, who say expensive weapons such as jet fighters, warships and satellites are not the way to combat terrorism.
The world’s biggest arms maker, Lockheed Martin in the US, maker of fighter jets including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which Australia is buying, announced last week it had increased third-quarter profits by 22 per cent to $US11.1 billion ($12.1 billion).
Northrop Grumman, maker of aircraft carriers, submarines and bombers, increased profits 62 per cent to $US489 million.
At General Dynamics, maker of the Abrams tank, which Australia has just bought, profits climbed 24 per cent to $US544 million.
Britain‘s BAE said its profits were up 27 per cent to £657 million ($1.23 billion).
In Australia profits for the Government-owned naval ship and submarine builder ASC rose 60 per cent last year to $30 million. The company was set up to build the Collins class submarines and is involved in the $8 billion air warfare destroyer project.
Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, said the big-ticket weapons were designed to contain China, not combat terrorism.
“They don’t admit to it. They sell it to the people as a response to terrorism, but that is not what they are doing,” Professor White said.
Professor White said Australia‘s multibillion-dollar defence purchases such as the Abrams tanks, warships, and Globemaster transport planes would be part of any US military operation in the Middle East or against China.
Professor Kevin Clements, director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, said the war on terrorism was a front to keep up arms spending to maintain the US’s ability to fight a wars on three fronts – Asia, the Middle East and Europe.