2011 was a very good year for U.S. arms sales, with more than triple the business from the year before.Note that three-quarter of the arms sales for the entire world are from the United States. That certainly says something about us as a nation.
According to a new report to Congress, worldwide sales of U.S. weapons last year added up to $66.3 billion. That accounts for more than three-quarters of 2011 arms sales worldwide, which is “the highest single year agreements total in the history of the U.S. arms export program.” The report was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) as part of their annual study of arms sales.
In 2010, the U.S. authorized $21.4 billion in sales, which led CRS to describe the jump as “extraordinary.” In terms of overall sales, Russia was distant second to the United States, having moved $4.8 billion...
Saudi Arabia purchased more than $33 billion in arms from the U.S., including 84 new F-15 jets and upgrades for 70 older models. The Saudis were not alone in purchasing weaponry in the region. The United Arab Emirates purchased 16 Chinook helicopters for just under $1 billion total; Oman shelled out $1.6 billion for 18 F-16 fighters. Egypt added land forces, spending $1 billion on M1 Abrams tanks, a sale that the Pentagon has used to argue for freezing domestic production of the Army’s signature land vehicle.
But “the U.S. arms agreements with Saudi Arabia were extraordinary,” concluded the report, as they “represent, by far, the largest share of U.S. agreements with the world or the developing world in 2011.” The selling of arms to Saudi Arabia is not without controversy. As the Center reported in June, the country has continued to receive steady flows of arms from the United States despite being on a State Department watchlist for human rights violations. Since the start of 2004, Saudi Arabia has purchased $75.7 billion in arms.
At The Center for Public Integrity source the map above is interactive.