July 3, 2024

Defence Spending: Who Is Doing What? July 2024

A German soldier stands by at exercise Iron Wolf in Lithuania.
A German soldier stands by at exercise Iron Wolf in Lithuania.

Burden-sharing will be a key item on the agenda when heads of state and government meet in Washington for the NATO summit. NATO’s latest defence spending figures contain better news than we expected when we examined the data in April.

See the data examined in April 2024

See the data examined in February 2023

See the data examined in July 2023

The table below gathers data on the Allies’ recent defence expenditure, longer-term expectations and military spending priorities.

Defence Expenditure %age GDP1
2024 (estimates)
Defence Expenditure %age GDP1
Long Term2014
Equipment Expenditure % of Defence budget1
2024 (estimates)
Equipment Expenditure % of Defence budget1
Spending Priorities
Albania1.35%2.03%2025: 2.21% 16.7%47.7%Javelin anti-tank missiles *
Belgium0.97%1.30%2030: 1.57% *

2035: 2.00% *
3.5%15.2%17 H145M Multi-Role Helicopters *
Bulgaria1.31%2.18%2026: 2.40% *1.0%31.9%Fighter jets, 200 Stryker combat vehicles, missile complexes to modernise the Bulgarian Coast Guard *
Canada1.01%1.37%2025-26: 1.54%

2026-27: 1.59%

2029-30: 1.76%
13.0%18.6%Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing P8-8A Poseidon, General Atomics MQ-9B Reapers, trucks, new air-defence and counter-drone systems, anti-tank missiles for its troops in Latvia *

New submarines *
Croatia1.82%1.81%2027: 2.00% *5.6%24.2%Black Hawk helicopters *

12 Rafale fighter jets*
Czechia0.94%2.10%2025: > 2.00% *6.5%37.9%77 German-made Leopard tanks *
Denmark1.15%2.37%2025: 2.40% *11.0%29.8%Air defence systems for the Army Brigade, missiles and drones
Estonia1.94%3.43%2025: 3.13%

2026: 3.11%

2027: 3.03%
22.2%33.7%Short range air-defence systems PPZR Piorun *

Blue Spear 5G SSM anti-ship missiles *

12 CEASAR Guns *

265 military vehicles (e.g. tractors, platform trucks, and trucks)*
Finland1.29%2.41%2026-27: > 2.00%13.7%45.8%Heavy Patria 6×6 armoured vehicles *
France1.82%2.06%2030: > 3.00% *24.6%28.4%Exocet MM40 Block 3C missiles for naval frigates *
Germany1.19%2.12%2025-26: 2.00%13.0%28.8%3 HIMARS launcher *

20 Eurofighter Jets *

RC Howitzer 155 for Mobile Fires Platform Program *

105 Leopard 2 Tanks

Artillery ammunition *
Greece2.22%3.08%2024-25: 3.50% *8.2%36.1%40 Lockheed Martin F-35

35 UG-60M Black Hawk helicopters *
Hungary0.86%2.11%2025: > 2.50% *7.8%47.8%Facility of Rheinmetall in Hungary, Lynx armoured combat vehicles, KF5 Panther tanks *
IcelandNANA2024: 0.01%
(civil defence)
Italy1.14%1.49%2028: 2.00% *11.0%22.1%Tanks, fighting vehicles and rocket launchers, 21 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems — US-made rocket launchers, new Leopard 2 A8 tanks, new armoured fighting vehicles to replace aging Dardo vehicles *
Latvia0.94%3.15%2026: 3.00% *7.6%37.0%Development of military infrastructure, including the Selonia Military training area, development of a comprehensive national defence system

Javelin anti-tank missiles *
Lithuania0.88%2.85%2025-30: > 3.00%14.1%21.2%Multiple launch missile systems, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled howitzers, anti-tank systems, artillery radars, combat drones, uninhabited aerial vehicles, mid-range air defence systems
Luxembourg0.37%1.29%2028: 2.00% * (of the GNP)22.6%43.7%Modern military capabilities such as RPAS in the context of its ISR mission

16 Griffon multi-role armored vehicles, 38 Jaguar armored combat vehicles, 5 Serval light multi-role armored vehicles., 2 armored recovery vehicles, three armored tow trucks, 50 multi-logistic support trucks, 24 tank transporter trucks, 48 low-loader multi-purpose wagons.
Montenegro1.50%2.02%NA7.5%35.8%offshore patrol vessels *
Netherlands1.15%2.05%2025: 2.05% *

2026: 2.22% *
10.7%36.2%Tank modernisation *

Seven Thales Mobile Radars *

F-16 ammunition *

Air Defence Equipment *
North Macedonia1.09%2.22%2025-29: >2.00%5.9%29.3%New air defence system from France, artillery systems from Türkiye, system solution for maintaining existing military aircraft until new helicopters are procured

8 Leonardo Heilcopters *
Norway1.55%2.20%2025: 2.07%

2026: 2.18%

2027: 2.25%

2028: 2.42%

2029: 2.55%

2030: 2.68%
20.4%29.9%increase munitions and materiel, maintain buildings and important infrastructure, invests in the military personnel (conscript, more employees), five new frigates with anti-submarine helicopters, at least five new submarines, and a standardized vessel class of up to ten large and eighteen smaller vessels, long-range air defence systems

48 Joint Strike Missiles *
Poland1.86%4.12%2025-27: >3.00%18.9%51.1%IBCS integrated air and missile defence command system, including the necessary command and communications equipment

AW101 helicopters and Saab 340 AEW early warning aircraft *

Long-Ranch Missiles *

Surveillance aerostats *

short-range, man-portable air defence systems *
Portugal1.31%1.55%2030: 2.00% 8.4%21.9%KC-390 aircraft, P-3 fleet modernisation for maritime patrol missions, coastal patrol ships
Romania1.35%2.25%2025-29: > 3.00%15.8%30.9%298 new vehicles, e.g. fighting vehicles and howitzer *
Slovakia0.99%2.00%2027: 1.80%11.1%27.2%Aircraft and tracked combat vehicles, development of armaments and infrastructure *

Short-range, man-portable air defence systems *

100 New Main Battle Tanks *
Slovenia0.97%1.29%2025: 1.36%0.7%27.3%Two German IRIS-T SLM Air Defence Systems *

86 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle *
Spain0.92%1.28%2029: 2.00% *13.5%30.3%F110 frigates, S-80 submarines *

8×8 wheeled combat vehicle *

104,000 mortar rounds *

Piranha IIIC armoured vehicles *

De Havailland Canada DHC-515 *
Sweden1.10%2.14%2030: 2.60% *40.5%34.0%Ammunition

321 armoured vehicles

12 Blackhawk helicopters *
Türkiye1.45%2.09%2025: 2.00% *25.1%34.2%F-16 Warplanes *
United Kingdom2.13%2.33%2025-26: 2.35%

2026-27: 2.38%

2027-28: 2.41%

2028-29: 2.44%

2029-30: 2.47%

2030-31: 2.50%
22.8%36.1%Ammunition *

6 H145 Helicopters *

Remus unmanned underwater vehicles *

50 Bomb Disposal Robots *

159 Snowmobiles *

RC Howitzer 155 for Mobile Fires Platform Program *
United States3.72%3.38%2025-2026²: > 3% 26.0%30.0%200 Tactical Robots *

81 obsolete Soviet-era combat aircraft from Kazakhstan *


* – Data from secondary source (e.g., media report), rather than from a primary source (e.g., government publication, ministerial communication)

1 Figures for 2014 and 2024 defence spending as a share of GDP and 2014 and 2024 equipment spending as a share of defence expenditure drawn from NATO’s June 2024 defence expenditure report.

² The US Defence Budget for 2025 has a volume of $905 billion and $924 billion in 2026, according to the National Defence Budget Document of the US Ministry of Defense.

NATO will celebrate its 75th anniversary in Washington DC on 9 July. It can also celebrate the fact that more Allies than ever are expected to reach the 2% of GDP target for defence spending—or bemoan the fact that almost a third of them will still not make the grade. Outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that 23 allies will reach the target in 2024, up from 7 in 2022 and 10 in 2023. In April, we expected that 20 Allies would be spending at 2% or higher this year, but NATO’s latest figures, which include  official 2024 estimates for the first time, add the Netherlands, Norway, and Türkiye to the list. This is, of course, positive news. On the other hand, except for Croatia, the nine countries that have not yet reached the 2% target are still a long way from doing so. If they did, NATO’s total defence spending would rise by about €50 billion – a little over half of Germany’s estimated 2024 spend. Canada, Italy, and Spain alone account for almost €38 billion of the shortfall.

If Allies spent the higher of either their current level or 2.5% of GDP, which some have proposed should be the new target, NATO spending would grow by around €140 billion. However, the growing disparity between Allies’ relative defence spending—Poland at 4.12% and Spain at only 1.28%—suggests that it will be ever more difficult for them to agree on where any new guideline should be set. This, and the rather weak outcome on defence spending at the Vilnius Summit, indicate that it is unlikely that NATO will move to a 2.5% (or other) target in Washington.

The longer-term data shows that almost all Allies expect to further increase their defence spending. Those countries currently spending less than 2% of GDP plan to achieve this by 2030 (except for Belgium (2035) and Canada (no plans)). The sustainability of higher levels of defence spending will, however, be a key question in years to come. The German Sondervermögen (special fund), for example, is expected to be used up by 2027 at the latest. As a result, from 2028, Bundeswehr funding could be reduced by €20 billion per year and German defence spending could again fall below 2%.

Regarding the 20% target for major equipment, 26 countries are expected to increase their investment spending between 2023 and 2024. Belgium and Canada are the only two Allies that will neither reach the 2% target for defence spending nor the 20% target for equipment spending this year.

Views expressed in ICDS publications are those of the author(s).

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