US leads world in foreign weapons sales: report

The United States accounted for more than two-thirds of foreign weapons sales in 2008, a year in which global sales were at a three-year low, The New York Times reported.
Citing a congressional study released last week, the Times said the United States was involved in 68.4 % of the global sales of arms, Reuters reports.
US weapons sales jumped nearly 50 % in 2008 despite the global economic recession to $37.8 billion (R286 billion) from $25.4 billion (R192 billion) the year before.
The jump defied worldwide trends as global arms sales fell 7.6 % to $55.2 billion (R418 billion) in 2008, the report said. Global weapons agreements were at their lowest level since 2005.
Italy, the second ranked country, amassed only $3.7 billion (R28 billion) in arms sales, while Russia ranked third with sales falling to $3.5 billion (R26 billion) in 2008, down from $10.8 billion (R81 billion) in 2007.
The report attributed the increase in US sales to “major new orders from clients in the Near East and in Asia” as well as to continued contracts for equipment and support services with globally based US clients, the Times said.
The United States also led in arms sales to the developing world, signing 70.1 % of these weapons agreements at a value of $29.6 billion (R224 billion) in 2008, the report said.
Such deals with the developing world included a $6.5 billion (R49 billion) air defense system for the United Arab Emirates, a $2.1 billion jet fighter for Morocco and a $2 billion (R15 billion) attack helicopter for Taiwan.
India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea and Brazil also reached weapons deals with the United States, the Times said.
The report revealed the United Arab Emirates was the top buyer of arms in the developing world with $9.7 billion (R73 billion) in arms purchases in 2008.
Saudi Arabia ranked second with $8.7 billion (R65 billion) in weapons agreements, and Morocco was third with $5.4 billion (R40 billion) in deals.

Pic: F16C-Aggressor