According to government sources, the German military industry increased its exports to a total of approximately EUR 4 billion in the first half of 2016 up 16% compared to 2015. German exports of ammunition have grown tenfold during the same period mainly with NATO member countries and Iraq.
These data confirmed the major trend of a general rearming globally but also the minor trend – yet highly indicative – of a replenishment (or increase) in inventories. If the purchase of heavy equipment like artillery, tanks, combat aircrafts results from a long-term timetable over several decades – one speaks here of “generations” – the purchase of weapons and ammunition like missiles, shells, small arms indicates the increased risk of conflict, at least in the assessments made by specialized institutions.
It is relevant to note who makes up the clientele of small arms and ammunition to get some information on the perception of the threat and its dangerousness. If NATO member countries buy ammunition but are hardly engaged in military operations abroad then one can assume that they are preparing for a possible threat to materialize on their soil or at their borders (or at those of defense agreements they belong to).
That’s why the purchase of ammunition by Norway would be more significant than a similar purchase by Saudi Arabia. From the growth of intra-EU trade exchange of ammunition can one at least postulate that the threat is perceived to be more severe and/or more impending.