U.S. Weapons Makers on a Record-Setting Roll
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Unrest in the Middle East, a major market for arms sales, has not stopped the United States from enjoying a banner year selling military hardware abroad.
The Department of Defense is expecting 2011 arms exports to surpass $46 billion, which would make it the highest on record.
Aggressive promotion of military aircraft and air-defense systems by the Obama administration has helped lead the surge in sales, much to the delight of defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Lockheed Martin manufactures the C-130J transport plane, and Boeing the mammoth C-17 aerial cargo jet.
Other hardware in high demand include aerial drones, F-35 fighter jets and missile defense systems.
U.S. weapons sales began to soar in 2006. According to Richard A. Genaille Jr., deputy director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), “For years we were hovering at $10 billion to $12 billion a year in new business. Now DSCA is forecasting more than $46 billion, as more countries seek to recapitalize their fighter jet and cargo aircraft fleets, becoming more interested in missile defense, unmanned aircraft and space technology.”
At the Navy League’s annual convention earlier this month, Genaille stressed that the Obama administration wants to more actively anticipate international combat situations and purchase in advance weapons that can be resold to governments in need.
Uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Yemen have elevated the issue of the U.S. selling weapons to dictatorial regimes, which in turn have been in a position to use the American-made arms against democratic protesters.
The United States leads the world in arms exports and accounts for one-third of all weapons sold internationally.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Amid Unrest in Arab World, U.S. Seeks to Boost Global Arms Sales (by Sandra Erwin, National Defense Magazine)
U.S. Projects More Than $46 Billion in Arms Exports in 2011 (by Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg)
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