Sales of mainly submarines and armoured vehicles helped Germany capture 11 percent of the global arms market, compared to 30 percent and 23 percent for the United States and Russia, the study from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.
Warships made up 44 percent of all arms exports, while armoured vehicles accounted for 27 percent. The study included the sale of used military wares and goods given away to allies.
Germany's most important customers included Turkey, Greece and South Africa.
Fourteen percent of Germany's arms exports went to Turkey, while Greece bought 13 percent and South Africa imported 12 percent – but SIPRI did not place a price tag on the goods.
The growth is part of a worldwide increase of 22 percent in weapons sales in the last five years, particularly in the trade of extremely expensive fighter planes. SIPRI warned of an arms race in tense regions like the Middle East, North Africa, South America and South Asia.
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Meanwhile Greece has become one of the world's top-five importers despite being on the verge of bankruptcy.