US weapons exports decreased 21% to $138.2 billion in fiscal 2021 – Times of India
The US state department disclosed military sales figures for the 2021 fiscal year, which ended on September 30. Sales included $3.5 billion worth of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Australia and $3.4 billion worth of CH-53K helicopters to Israel.
Sales of US military equipment in the prior fiscal year had totaled $175 billion.
President Joe Biden‘s administration shifted away from selling offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia, due to civilian casualties in Yemen and intends to announce a new weapons export policy that emphasizes human rights when evaluating an arms sale.
The 2021 dip comes after high one-time sales of fighter jets and guided missiles in the final year of the Trump administration. Major fiscal 2020 deals included Japan’s purchase of 63 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin accounting for as much as $23 billion of that year’s total.
There are two major ways foreign governments purchase arms from US companies: direct commercial sales negotiated between a government and a company; and foreign military sales in which a foreign government typically contacts a Defense Department official at the US embassy in its capital. Both require US government approval.
The direct military sales by US companies fell 17% to $103 billion in fiscal 2021 from $124 billion in fiscal 2020, while sales arranged through the US government fell 31% to $34.8 billion in 2020 from $50.8 billion the prior year, the State Department said.
In 2018 the Trump administration rolled out a “Buy American” program that relaxed restrictions on military sales while encouraging US officials to take a bigger role in increasing business overseas for the US weapons industry.