By ANDY WOLF
Amid the tightening pressures abroad, US firms saw a heavy increase in production to supply a demand that other countries were more than happy to pay for; US arms exports.
According to Fortune, “last week’s deals follow a busy April in which six foreign military deals totaled nearly $3 billion, eclipsing the $1.1 billion in sales made during the same month last year.” With sales ranging from a single 21 million dollar UH-60M helicopter for Jordanian Royal dignitaries to a staggering 1.2 million rounds of various ammunition valued at nearly $400 million, American defense industries have been making noticeable profits selling to various allies.
Although the certainty of the US Defense budget and procurement process has been in question (between threats of sequestration and the highly-controversial F-35 program, which Sen. John McCain refers to as “one of the great national scandals”), exports have skyrocketed. Even Japan, who only possesses a Self Defense Force, has procured seventeen V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft at the tune of $3 billion.
Some point to the rising tension in various hotspots to explain the proliferation of US arms abroad, which seems reasonable. One simply has to look at headlines of Middle Eastern unrest, China flexing their military muscle on land, air and sea (causing considerable concern for Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines), as well as Russia taking an aggressive (though dangerously unpredictable) stance unseen since the Cold War to see where the demand for armament abroad comes from, and the US all too happy to seal the deal.
Guggenheim Defense Analyst Roman Schweizer thinks the need for new security in an increasingly unstable and unpredictable global scene is pushing countries towards US defense contractors, who have what foreign militaries want. “There’s a pretty broad-based demand for these kinds of systems and US companies have the technology that sets them apart,” Schweizer stated in a recent interview with Fortune. Schweizer added, “If foreign buyers have the ability to buy those things, they will.”