Worldwide U.S. Arms Sales Hit New High

Last year overseas weapons sales by the United States tripled to a new record high of $66.3 billion, more than three-quarters of the global arms market, according to a new study for Congress. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.

The U.S. sales total was an “extraordinary increase” over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of American arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion.

Increasing tensions with Iran drove Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman to purchase American weapons at record levels. These Gulf states do not share a border with Iran, and their arms purchases focused on expensive warplanes and complex missile defense systems.

The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, dozens of Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet.

The United Arab Emirates purchased a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced antimissile shield that includes radars and is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.

Oman bought 18 F-16 fighters for $1.4 billion.

Other significant weapons deals by the United States last year included a $4.1 billion agreement with India for 10 C-17 transport planes and with Taiwan for Patriot antimissile batteries valued at $2 billion, an arms deal that outraged officials in Beijing.

 

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