Guidelines for Using the Database

What is this database about?

With the project we offer a free public database on Germany’s arms trade. It intends to document the entire range of arms exports, not only the "classic" weapon exports but also the export of production documentation, joint-ventures with foreign companies, technology transfer, and components. For an arms deal to be included in the database it is not decisive for the goods to be included in the Common Military List of the European Union on military equipment and material if a military use is known. This  means that for example also civilian engines and transmissions are included if they are mounted on tanks or navy vessels.

Ideally the database will include arms deals once the government has started to initiate such deals or is calling for tenders on the part of companies. Unfortunately, given the prevailing policy of secrecy & nondisclosure on the part of the government and companies, being able to report on these deals remains an exception.But because of the intransparency in this business field this will remain the exception.

A word of warning: due to the often secretive nature of arms deals it should always be kept in mind that there is no  guarantee whatsoever that the information provided in the database is in any way accurate.

Primary requirement for an arms deal to be included in the database is that at least one official source (government, parliament, United Nations, company etc.) or two independent news reports in print or internet media mention the deal. Where ever possible, the entry will also refer to uncertainties and contradictions.

Guide to the Database

It would probably be best to just play around with the filters and see what comes up.

Nevertheless, here are some hopefully helpful explanations with regard to the various parameters/filters of the search function.

For each arms deal the following information – if available - will  be publicized: country of destination, name of the goods, summary of the deal, classification of the goods, German companies involved, number of items, price, period of time, current status, sources used and when the entry was last updated.

Up until now experience has shown, that it is possible to ascertain that an arms deal has been conducted and which companies were involved.  However,because of diverging calculation methods, political changes or misinformation in most cases there is no reliable information on the selling sales price or the number of goods delivered. Therefore these are not being offered as a search filter. 

Please click here for ideas or suggestions to improve the search or to report mistakes.

Name of Country

Here it is possible to choose the country of destination. Basis for any country abbreviations is the Country List of the European Union (13.12.2006).

One addition was made:

  • NT - for arms deals which were contracted by NATO itself.


There are 26 categories of arms goods to help narrow down the search. These categories can at times overlap. Especially when it involves "components", "electronic machinery" or "production documentation" additional categories are added to make the identification more precise. 

  • These categories are designed primarily as a simple help for orientation. They are not scientifically sound differentiations for weapon systems and their components. 
  • HERE are some short illustrations for each category



If possible, the accurate designation of a military good will be found here. If it is part of a larger weapon systems, this system will also be named here.

For the designation of an item the following method will be used (ignoring capital letters)

  • if the product has a proper name, this name and possibly version numbers will be separated by a space: Dingo 2, Leopard 2HE, Panzerhaubitze 2000.
  • if the product name is made up of abbreviations and model numbers all letters and numbers are written without spaces in-between. This can lead to ugly character-columns: DM2A4, TRS3, PzH2000, NH90, U209/1200, U214.


All German companies or their foreign subsidiary involved in arms deals and recorded in this database are listed here alphabetically. There are some duplications if the mother company as well as one of its subsidiaries were part of deals. The owners of the company are listed in brackets. Additionally the "Bundeswehr" is also listed here as a placeholder for government institutions which donate or sell weapons to other states.


Description of the deal

Here all the known facts of the specific entry are listed chronologically.

  • Occasionally there will be duplications with other search filters, for example, concerning number of pieces or period of time. If known also the partner companies abroad  to which German components are delivered for final installation will be listed here.


Number of pieces

This category is self explanatory,although these facts are usually highly unreliable.


Value of the deal

Even more unreliable is  the information for the value of the arms deal, especially if it concerns government-to-government "political prices". Nevertheless, with these numbers one gets an impression of the scale of the deal.

Period of time

Here the time frame of the deal is documented - from the signing of the contract or placing of the order to the production and delivery of the arms good.

  • Caution is also advised here as to the data, since these schedules are often not met.This data should also be taken with care. Usually these schedules are not kept.



Since this database not only covers completed arms deals but also planned or presently negotiated and ongoing exports, this category is meant as an aid to see at which stage the deal is.


Last update

This shows the date on which the entry was last updated



This documentation of sources doesn't fulfill scientific standards but it should help in finding the relevant sources.