U.S. Tops Arms Sales to Developing World

The United States delivered nearly $8 billion worth of weaponry to developing nations last year—a dramatic boost that helped it retain its position as the world's top weapons vendor, with just over 40 percent of the legal market.

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The United States delivered nearly $8 billion worth of weaponry to developing nations last year—a dramatic boost that helped it retain its position as the world's top weapons vendor, with just over 40 percent of the legal market.

According to data reported by the Congressional Research Service, Russia ranked second, with $5.5 billion of weapons delivered. In addition, Washington completed an additional $10.3 billion in deals for future weapons deliveries. Although the value of overall weapons deliveries has declined in recent years, the developing world has become an increasingly important market for the U.S. defense industry.

In the past four years, developing countries have accounted for nearly three quarters of the value of all international arms deliveries. The U.S. share of that was more than $50 billion. The biggest purchasers of weapons last year were, in order, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia. One of the biggest U.S. deals last year was a Pakistani purchase of 36 American F-16 fighter planes.

In terms of actual arms deliveries, Saudi Arabia led the developing world last year, followed by China and Israel.

—Kevin Whitelaw