WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States plans to export $46.1 billion in weapons this year, nearly doubling its 2010 figures, officials said.
During the fiscal year 2011, which ends September 30, Washington expects the sales of equipment and military services through its Foreign Military Sales process to grow.
About 79 percent of these exports are financed by client countries and organizations, with the remainder funded by US aid programs.
US military equipment sales, confined to about $10 billion in the early 2000s, tripled to around $30 billion after 2005.
“From 2005 to 2010, we have delivered through the Foreign Military Sales process $96 billion worth of equipment, goods and services to partner countries,” said Defense Security Cooperation Agency Director Vice Admiral William Landay.
Ten years ago, clients were most interested in purchasing material at the lowest cost, even if that meant spacing out deliveries, he explained.
But with the war in Afghanistan and a higher operational tempo for many armed forces, clients are seeking quicker access to purchased progress, which explains the rise in the value of American exports, according to the admiral.
Several nations participating in the NATO-led air campaign on Libya have thus contacted the DSCA to replenish their stocks of ammunition depleted by the operations.
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom are all participating in the attacks on Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.
The rise in exports has led the DSCA to revise its procedures to ensure faster deliveries by determining what type of weapons or other military equipment should be delivered to which country before even being contacted by a client, and purchasing the equipment before it is sold.
In all, over 13,000 contracts are currently underway with 165 countries for $327 billion, according to Landay.