What is ArmsTradeWatch?

ArmsTradeWatch is an initiative to map out the European arms industry and arms trade. This database provides an inventory of companies in Europe active on the defense market or exporting arms. By mapping the European arms industry and arms trade and making this data more accessible, ArmsTradeWatch wants to provide a tool for investigative journalism and in depth research into the arms industry.

Public information on the arms industry and arms trade is generally only available in aggegrated formats and statistics. Such aggregated information is too limited for proper public accountability and allows too much dirty business in the shadow without questions asked. The actual trade behind the figures remains difficult to uncover. However, a lot of information exists in dispersed open sources. ArmsTradeWatch made an inventory of defense companies based on arms trade reports, procurement and tender data and membership lists of industry organisations. For these companies basic company information and data on ownership relations and group structures has been collected in this database. This database is made as proof of concept to show it is possible to create a detailed mapping of the European arms industry and to let experience the added value for research of such a project.

This research has been initiated by Vredesactie, but we would like this project to become a platform to exchange and pool basic data about the arms industry among researchers. We think that knowledge sharing and pooling helps all researchers and can contribute and improve their work.

Let us know which use you have made of this database. We would like to refer to such use or research based on this data on our blog. We are also open for collaboration on research and investigative journalism projects concerning arms industry and arms trade.

Which data is provided? What are the sources and how reliable is it?

More information concerning the sources is given on the Sources-page. Our information is based on 2 categories of sources. First sources which allowed us to make an inventory of companies active on the defense market: arms export reports when they contained information on individual companies, procurement and tender data, membership lists of industry organisations. Secondly, for these companies basic company information and data on ownership relations and group structures has been collected in this database.

This is still a first try-out and beta version of the database on European arms industry. We invite users of this information to give feedback on the correctness and comprehensiveness of the dataset. The quality and comprehensiveness of data sources varies a lot among countries, while also the international datasets have regional biases. Did we miss arms producing companies or companies active on the defense market? Is some of the data outdated or wrong? Let us know!

Also is it possible that some of the companies in the database are not active on the defense market, but ended up in our source data for other reasons. We have tried to filter these out, but only have a limited capacity to do so. A bit of crowd sourcing to improve this selection would be a big help.

Therefore this dataset should be treated as a beta version and best effort. Information should be verified before making strong claims based on this data.

Why the focus on Europe?

Several NGOs, research institutes and journalists make good research on arms trade, but mostly country-based. We found that an overall view on Europe is missing. However such view is needed, especially since the supply chains in this industry are becoming more international while our view on the actual trade diminished after the liberalisation of the internal defense market within the EU with the Directive 2009/43/EC on transfers of defence-related products. This project is aimed at restoring such view on the European arms industry and arms trade.

Use of this data: Legal license and liability

The ArmsTradeWatch database is provided under the the Open Database License. A plain language summary of the ODbL is available on the Open Data Commons website.

Our data is sourced from a range of public or open sources and therefore free for use. However, we do claim our rights on the database. The ODbL-license allows the reuse of the data, but requires you to attribute your use of our database.

Please also respect the attribution to our sources of company information:

- Opencorporates, when a link is present on the Details tab.

- For the Belgian data: openthebox.be

The data provided through our database reflects the data we have obtained from our sources and we cannot assure its truthfulness or accuracy. Therefore the use of this data is entirely at your risk and you need to make the necessary verifications before publishing any claim based on this data. We deny any liability for use made of this data or this website.


ArmsTradeWatch is an initiative of Vredesactie. Vredesactie (translated as Peace Action) is a Belgian peace organisation, active on a range of conflict-related issues, including arms trade, with public campaigns, advocacy and research. More information can be found on www.vredesactie.be.

The research and data collection for this database was done by Hans Lammerant. For feedback, questions concerning the data, research projects … you can contact us on hans {at} vredesactie.be