Weapons exports explode

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Norway has often played the role of international peacemaker, but the country has a major, partially state-owned weapons industry that clearly is profiting from conflicts around the world.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported over the weekend that Norwegian weapons exports have tripled during the past five years. Sales of weapons have hit as high as NOK 12.5 billion (around USD 2 billion) in some periods, according to DN.

The two weapons producers Kongsberg Gruppen and Nammo have seen revenues skyrocket since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the past six years, their combined revenues have risen from NOK 7.3 billion to 17.2 billion.

In addition come sales of Norwegian-developed products — such as a weapons system that protects soldiers in armoured vehicles — that are produced overseas, for example in the US.

Both Kongsberg and Nammo are 50 percent-owned by the Norwegian state. Kongsberg, the former Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk, also develops civilian maritime products and has 5,500 employees. Nammo, which evolved from Raufoss Ammunisjonsfabrikk, is based at Raufoss, also is 50 percent-owned by the state and has 1,900 employees in seven countries.

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