British arms exports to Libya

government figures show export licences for £3.4 million

sales increased dramatically at the end of last year with a lot of licences granted for "crowd control ammunition" and tear gas.

On 26th February 2011, the European Union banned the supply to Libya of arms, ammunition and related material.
In addition to the UN measures, the Council also prohibited trade with Libya in equipment which might be used for internal repression.
However, up until this point, we and others were making a lot of money selling arms and military equipment for internal repression.

Military exports increased dramatically in the last months of published figures, selling over £8million. There appears to be a lot of licences granted for `crowd-control`.
The most recently published show that in 2010, Britain exported directly to Libya:

all-wheel drive vehicles with ballistic protection, combat vehicles
ammunition for wall and door breaching projectile launchers
 crowd control ammunition and tear gas/irritant ammunition as well as "training tear gas/irritant ammunition", anti-riot/ballistic shields,smoke canisters, smoke hand grenades, stun grenades
sniper rifles, assault rifles, silencers and small arms ammunition
 components for: combat aircraft, machine guns, military small arms training equipment, semi-automatic pistols, sniper rifles, multi-role missiles, optical target surveillance equipment and surface-to-air missiles
military: cameras, vehicles, software, communications and infrared/thermal imaging equipment and military small arms training equipment
 technology for the use of military: vehicles and communications equipment, target recognition training equipment, software for the simulation of military operation scenarios
laser rangefinders and optical target surveillance equipment

military equipment was also sold to France and Italy who then sold it onto Libya.


A mass sale also took place in mid-2009 of over £12million spent on just:

combat shotguns
crowd control ammunition
equipment for the use of military communications equipment and shotguns
military communications equipment
military helmets
small arms ammunition
tear gas/irritant ammunition
ammunition for wall and door breaching projectile launchers, small arms ammunition and more tear gas/irritant ammunition all listed as for training

The Libyan government seems to have used Britain to help build a stockpile in readiness for protests. Now both sides are using our weapons on each other.


see also our article on British arms exports to Israel.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply