America's weapon sales abroad last year skyrocketed to $66.3 billion, triple the 2010 figure of $21.4 billion, according to a nonpartisan report. US sales accounted for more than three-quarters of the $85.3 billion market and marked a record high for sales in a year, blowing away 2009's $31 billion. The US windfall stemmed largely from hefty purchases by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman; the countries bought warplanes and missile defense equipment amid rising concern over Iran, the New York Times reports.
Among Saudi Arabia's $33.4 billion in purchases were 84 F-15 fighters as well as Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, ammunition, and missiles. The UAE snapped up a $3.49 billion missile shield and $939 million in Chinook helicopters, while Oman spent $1.4 billion on 18 F-16 fighters. Some $71.5 billion of global purchases were made by developing nations, as has generally been the case in recent years, the Times notes; some $56.3 billion of that figure came from the US. The second-biggest international dealer: Russia, with just $4.8 billion in sales.