America was hands down the world's biggest supplier of weapons in 2015, selling some $40 billion in arms to states such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, helps demonstrate why the administration of Barack Obama holds the dubious honour of being the most prolific seller of weapons since the Second World War.

Under Obama, the US has approved $278bn in foreign arms sales in eight years, more than double the total of the Bush administration, which approved $128.6bn.

In 2015, the US had a global market share of just under 50%, selling $40 billion worth of arms, more than double the number of its closest rival, France, which made $15bn. Russia made 11.1bn in weapons sales while China doubled its profits to around $6bn.

Globally, arms trade profits were down from $89bn in 2014 to $80bn last year as financial issues took their toll on major buyers such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

But the US is expected to make a similar profit from the arms trade in 2016. The Guardian reported Monday (26 December) that the Pentagon have already sold $33.6bn in arms in 2016 as well as a $7bn fighter jet deal with Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain that will be rolled over to 2017.

Israel, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq were all major arms buyers in 2015, but by far the biggest buyers were Qatar, which signed $17bn worth of deals and Egypt, which spent over $12bn. Saudi Arabia signed deals worth $8bn.

As well as Apache attack helicopters, missile interceptors and armoured vehicles, firms sold a variety of bombs and missiles.