U.S. triples foreign arms sales in 2011
August 27th, 2012
02:22 PM ET

U.S. triples foreign arms sales in 2011

By Mike Mount, CNN Senior National Security Producer

International weapons sales by the United States tripled last year to a record high of $66.3 billion, according to a congressional report that noted big fighter jet and helicopter purchases by Saudi Arabia.

The data by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service noted an "extraordinary increase" over 2010, saying the total U.S. figure accounted for almost 78 percent of sales globally.

 Russia followed the United States at $4.8 billion with France at $4.4 billion, according to the report, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2004-2011."

China's 2011 sales were at $2.1 billion but focused less on large weapons platforms such as planes and more on smaller weapons, selling them to Asian countries and to African nations, the report said.

The data allows members of Congress to see "the level of arms transfers by major weapons suppliers to nations in the developing world ... where most the potential for the outbreak of regional military conflicts currently is greatest and where the greatest proportion of the conventional arms trade is conducted," according to the report.

A number of countries in the near-East and Asia, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, continued or resumed large-scale weapons purchases because of continued threats from Iran.

 Saudi Arabia was the biggest buyer of arms from the United States, making up about half of the 2011 total at $33.4 billion, according to the report.

Saudi Arabia bought some 84 new F-15 fighter jets to add to its fleet as well as upgrades for 70 others. The purchase also included ammunition and missiles for the planes. Saudi Arabia also bought numerous Apache attack helicopters and multi-use Blackhawk helicopters.

With its very close proximity to Iran, the United Arab Emirates bought an advanced missile shield system called the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and its corresponding radar systems for almost $3.5 billion. The U.A.E. also bought $939 million worth of Chinook transport helicopters.

 Oman bought 18 F-16 fighter jets for $1.4 billion.

 "For certain developing nations in these regions, the strength of their individual economies appears to be a key factor in their decisions to proceed with major arms purchases," according to the report.

Last year was the eighth-straight year the United States led global arms sales. The United States and Russia made up almost 70 percent of weapons sales in the developing world between 2008-11.

 While the United States showed huge growth in sales, the international arms market is, "not likely growing at all," according to the report.

"There continue to be significant constraints on its (international arms market) growth, due, in particular, to the weakened state of the global economy," the report said.

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Lista Isaac Enlaces Sutton

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    December 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  2. Ako

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    September 10, 2012 at 6:17 am | Reply
  3. ccsroscoe@gmail.com

    By allowing the pot of war to $immer for 11 years and by not taking any meaningful action against Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Taliban, etc., etc., to win the war against $tate $ponsors of terrori$m quickly, the climate is maintained for increa$ing arm$ $ales to everyone!

    No one make$ any money in a $hort regional war.

    September 1, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
  4. Rajahmed Chanduri

    Why are we selling advanced weapons to Saudis? They would use them against israel and against us if they have the chance.It's written in their not so religious book that they must either convert the unbelievers or kill them. Google it up online, it's all in the Quran.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:43 am | Reply
    • :)

      You're really f*****g stupid.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
  5. GOP Word Association

    WORD = GOP Association
    Old People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Sick People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Poor People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Female People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Non-white People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Non-christian People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Unemployed People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Gay People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Glob of cells in a womb = Something we PRETEND to care about just to get votes.
    Gun Control = Something ELSE we PRETEND to care about to get dumb redneck votes.

    August 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  6. HJA

    All the talk of defense cuts and war efforts winding down the Machine is getting hungry. Time to feed elsewhere.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  7. Shalom

    The USA stirs up 5hit all over the world so that they can promote their weapons sale. Really really bad ugly americans

    August 28, 2012 at 5:59 am | Reply
  8. Shalom

    USA is the biggest merchant of death, but pretends to be holier than thou.

    August 28, 2012 at 5:56 am | Reply
  9. George Patton

    This what the Russians need to do.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  10. Bob Loblaw

    The world leader in exporting death. Nice to see that we're still no.1 at something.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • marcus

      You can always leave the country, and go somewhere "peaceful" until the Islamic Fundamentalists come and chop off your head.

      August 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply
      • Bob Loblaw

        Awwwwwwww.........did I offend you, "patriot"?

        August 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
      • Rob

        There is nothing wrong with being a patriot. Not saying I fear Islam as if it were the devil but everyone uses patriot in a negative connotation today and there is nothing wrong with being patriotic.

        August 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
      • Stevie

        I dont believe Bob has anything wrong with being a patriot. Please notice the quotation marks. He's implying that the person isn't a true patriot.

        August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Rick from LA

      You know the old saying, "To ensure peace you must be prepared for War"?

      August 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  11. Midnight Wizard

    We have to remember that as the global arms leader, we have quotas to meet. We sell to "friendly" countries in hopes that our troops never have to be on the wrong end of these weapons. We are hoping these weapons will be a deterrent to war, but I don't think they will. Saeed, the problem with ships and carriers are submarines. I would think that all systems (weapons) platforms have a fatal flow or weakness the other side can exploit. The question: Do you have the best toys to do it with?

    August 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  12. Robert

    Learn to spell the word 'countries' properly.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • ghjrgmgdhm

      Learn to use the "Reply" button..

      August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
  13. bill hicks

    During the Persian Gulf war, those intelligence reports would come out: "Iraq: incredible weapons – incredible weapons." "How do you know that?" "Uh, well … we looked at the receipts."

    August 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  14. Nick from Toronto

    Wow. Honestly, I feel like my intelligence level drops when reading all the racist, misinformed, close-minded garbage that people post on CNN forums... and that doesn't include the terrible grammar and use of the English language either.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • saeed

      if your logic and reson is better then you are welcome to try your fire at this battle ground.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • William F. Phuckley

      Another smug, self-righteous, sanctimonious Canadian heard from.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • not me

      Or Just CNN full stop

      August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  15. @Saeed


    August 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  16. saeed

    damn thats almost funny fighter jets mean nothing in real war all fighter jets have a maximum range og 500 so thats how totally useless they are. whats moore important are heavy battle ships with long range cruise missiles and icbms and aircraft carriers thats what makes the differents.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
    • Nick

      You're obviously ill informed arm-chair Saeed. I imagine the experts in Western and Eastern Militaries, making and or buying these weapons platforms, are far more versed in what battle systems will be effective for their uses against perceived threats. Not you.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
      • HEHEHE

        Shhhhh....let them think we only have a 500 mile range. LOL

        August 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |

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