France’s defense exports soared 42.7% in 2013 compared to those of 2012, according to a report to parliament released today. Orders worth €6.87bn ($8.86bn) were taken by French companies, of which eight were worth more than €200m ($258m) compared to just three worth this amount or more in 2012.

Countries in the Near and Middle East accounted for almost half the orders and Saudi Arabia became France’s leading client with more than €1.9bn ($2.45bn) worth of contracts becoming effective in 2013. Countries in the Asia Pacific zone — which had been France’s principal clients in 2012, accountd for 25% of the total orders taken in 2013, followed by Latn America, Central Asia/Russia and Europe.

Most of the orders were in the missile, naval and space sectors.