When the US Armed Forces isn’t busy attempting to protect its borders while carrying out global missions, it is responsible for a large portion of the world’s weapons sales. A recent report in the New York Times reveals that, in 2011, the US Army sold $66.3 billion in weapons and defense technology, more than triple its 2010 sales level of $21.4 billion.
Compiled by a nonpartisan group of researchers, the report found that global weapons sales were estimated to be $85.3 billion. Under those numbers, US sales accounted for nearly 75 percent of global purchases.
The largest weapons buys from the United States came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman where warplanes and missile defense equipment were purchased over rising concerns from Iran’s instability.
One of the largest purchases on record came out of Saudi Arabia where $33.4 billion was spent to purchase 84 F-14 fighters along with Black Hawk and Apache helicopters from the United States. The Saudis also purchased a stockpile of ammunition and missiles.
Also purchased was the UAE’s $3.49 billion missile shield and its $939 million Chinook helicopters purchase. Oman added to the total with $1.4 billion spend on 18 F-16 fighters.
It wasn’t just well off countries making purchases with $71.5 billion worth of global purchases coming from developing nations looking to strengthen their borders.
Middle Eastern weapons buys from the United States shouldn’t come as a surprise; under an agreement already put in place, the United States is working with Middle Eastern partners will patch together a missile defense system to protect those countries against advances from Iran’s radical Islamist regime.