Defense contractors not only sell to the U.S. military, but to foreign militaries, too. Under a number of national and international laws, including the Arms Export Control Act, the U.S. State Department oversees roughly $55 billion in foreign military sales annually to allies and partner countries. In addition to the weapons, offshore buyers receive training and logistical support. (Find out what states are making the most weapons for the U.S. Army.)
To find the countries that U.S. Army contractors are selling the most weapons systems, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most recent Army Weapon Systems Handbook for 2020-2021, published by the Army, and identified how many active or in development systems are being sold to each country. The countries are ranked by the number of systems being sold to each. We have included notable weapons systems that each country is purchasing as well. According to the Handbook, building up our allies’ military capabilities can “contribute to global security.”
One of the most popular weapon systems is the hellfire family of missiles. bought by 13 of the 30 countries on the list. An air-to-ground missile, a hellfire can precisely hit conventional and nonconventional targets. Nine countries purchased Blackhawk helicopters.
The majority of the military sales went to NATO allies, such as the U.K., Spain, and Poland. Army contractors also sold to countries the U.S. has had conflicts with in the past, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as the U.S. is trying to strengthen their militaries.
Yet the most sales went to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, tied at a total of 15 weapons systems each. The sales to Saudi Arabia have become controversial recently when the country decided to cut oil production, thereby leading to higher gas prices. The Washington Post reported that lawmakers are considering pulling U.S. troops from the country and stopping all arms sales.
Although not on the list, the U.S. has supplied Ukraine with weapons, too. See all of the weapons the U.S. has committed to Ukraine since the invasion.