WASHINGTON – The weapons sales by the United States have tripled in 2011 to a record high, a new study for US Congress which was published in the New York Times has revealed.
The surge in weapons sales is driven by major arms sales to Persian Gulf allies concerned about Iran’s regional ambitions.
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According to the New York Times, overseas weapons sales by the US totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market.
Despite the global financial crisis, the increasing tensions with Iran have led a set of Persian Gulf nations, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, to purchase American weapons at record levels.
The three Arab countries, who do not share a border with Iran, mainly focused on buying expensive warplanes and complex missile defense systems.
The study found that US weapons sales total was an "extraordinary increase" over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports.
The annual study is considered to be the most detailed collection of unclassified arms sales data available to the public.
According to the report, agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet.
Sales to Saudi Arabia last year also included dozens of Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal from the United States of $33.4 billion.
The UAE snapped up a $3.49 billion missile shield and $939 million in Chinook helicopters, while Oman spent $1.4 billion on 18 F-16 fighters.
Other significant weapons deals by the US last year included a $4.1 billion agreement with India for 10 C-17 transport planes and with Taiwan for Patriot antimissile batteries valued at $2 billion, the report said.
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