Bout's wife Alla (pictured), and his daughter attended the sentencing
The conviction relates only to the attempted arms sale in Thailand, but US authorities say Bout has sold weapons to dictators and guerrilla forces in Africa, South America and the Middle East.
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement: "Viktor Bout has been international arms trafficking enemy number one for many years, arming some of the most violent conflicts around the globe.
"He was finally brought to justice in an American court."
It is said that Bout began channelling weapons to war-torn parts of Africa during the 1990s.
"Although Bout has often described himself as nothing more than a businessman, he was a businessman of the most dangerous order," prosecutors wrote in a pre-sentencing memo.
The US Treasury department banned any trade with Bout in 2004, citing an "unproven allegation" that he made $50m from selling arms to the Taliban.
During the trial, his defence argued Bout was just trying to sell two old cargo aircraft for $5m.
"Viktor was baiting them along with the promise of arms, hoping just to sell his planes," lawyer Albert Dayan told the court.