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former IAEA Director-General

Proposed U.S. Arms Export Agreements From January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010
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Press Contact: Jeff Abramson, Deputy Director; (202) 463-8270 x109

Updated: February 2011

After a dip in proposed arms transfers the previous year, in 2010 the Pentagon notified Congress of an estimated $102.5 billion in proposed, government-to-government, conventional arms transfer agreements with 28 countries, setting a new high that surpasses even the $75 billion proposed in 2008. The total amount presented to Congress was nearly four times higher than the 10-year average from 2000 to 2009 ($27 billion), and two and a half times the comparable 2009 and 2007 figures ($39 billion each).  

The United States conducts government-to-government transfers through the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Not all notified sales result in final transactions. Under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress must be notified of proposed sales of “major defense equipment,” as defined on the U.S. Munitions List, that equals or exceeds $14 million; defense articles and services that are not defined as “major defense equipment” which total $50 million or more; and construction or design services amounting to or surpassing $200 million.[1] However, if the proposed sale involves NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, or New Zealand, the notification thresholds are $25 million for major defense equipment, $100 million for other defense articles and services, and $300 million for construction or design services.[2] Once notified, Congress has 30 calendar days (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand) to block a sale by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, though it has never stopped a sale once formally notified.

The total amount in 2010 is heavily influenced by $60.1 billion in proposed arms transfers to Saudi Arabia (see ACT, December 2010) including 84 F15-SA multi-role aircraft, equipment for the upgrade of 70 Saudi F15-S aircraft, 70 AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow helicopters, and 72 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, as well as AH-6i and MD-530F light helicopters.  Present in the packages are 300 Sidewinder and 500 AMRAAM missiles, 400 air-launched Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and 600 HARM missiles, plus thousands of Hellfire IIs, and 150 infantry operable Javelin anti-tank missiles. The sale of thousands of laser and GPS guided bombs were also proposed including 1,100 Paveway IIIs and 1,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) units, both of the 2,000-pound variety. Included as well were 1,300 units of the CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapon/Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser, a cluster bomb of the type banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions but which is still sold by the United States as permitted by its own policies. Saudi Arabia last proposed significant FMS purchases in 2008 ($2.9 billion), and had also been the largest proposed recipient of U.S. arms transfers in 2006 ($11.3 billion).

Saudi Arabia was not the only state in the Middle East that sought new arms and armaments in 2010, with the United Arab Emirates ($5.4 billion), Iraq ($4.9 billion), Oman ($3.6 billion), Israel ($2.0 billion), and Kuwait ($1.6 billion) all expressing interest in purchases. Helicopters, their parts, and their servicing constituted a significant proportion of global proposed sales [3]; the U.A.E. followed in its neighbor’s footsteps in ordering 60 Apache Longbows. Iraq proposed new requests for 18 F-16IQ aircraft, ammunition for its M1A1 tanks, and refurbishment of 440 M113A2 Armored Personnel Carriers. Oman likewise sought to reinforce its air force, putting forward plans to buy 18 F16 Block 50/52 aircraft. Israel’s requested package was limited to the purchase of gasoline for its ground forces and jet fuel. As a percentage of overall proposed sales, requests from Middle Eastern states rose from around 68 percent in 2009 to 78 percent in 2010.

Early in the year the proposed sale of 60 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters along with 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles to Taiwan was finally presented to Congress after nearly a decade of negotiations (see ACT, March 2010). The package drew the ire of mainland China, despite the omission of the diesel submarines and F16C/D fighter aircraft originally intended as a core part of the deal. The total value of intended U.S. sales to Taipei amounted to $6.4 billion, matching 2008 figures. Harpoon missiles again featured as they did two years earlier but on a much smaller scale, with only the purchase of a dozen proposed. Two OSPREY class mine-hunting ships were also requested. In reaction to the proposed sale, China cut strategic military dialogue talks with the United States for nearly a year.  

The U.S. government also proposed several large sales to India during the year, amounting to $8.0 billion. 145 units of the M777 155mm light towed Howitzer were requested as part of an extended artillery modernization program, as well as 10 C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft. New Delhi also sought parts and weapons systems for 22 Apache Longbow helicopters and 21 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles for the P-8I maritime patrol aircraft. Unlike many other notifications, the proposed sale of Apache helicopters was made in advance of an official letter of request from India. Instead, it was submitted as part of an international competition so that, “in the event that the…[U.S.] proposal is selected, the United States might move as quickly as possible to implement the sale,” according to the notification. As of year’s end, India had not announced whether the U.S. bid was accepted. In 2009, a similar speculative notification was made for Super Hornet fighter aircraft for Brazil, which still had not decided how to proceed as of the end of 2010.

Below are the five countries that sought the highest values in U.S. arms exports in 2010 and some of their specific requests.

Country

Total Value

Weapons/Services

Saudi Arabia

$61.0 billion

  • 84 F-15SA aircraft, equipment to upgrade another 70 Royal Saudi Air Force F15-S aircraft to F-15SA specifications
  • 70 AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow helicopters, 72 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, and 36 AH-6i Light Attack helicopters
  • 300 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles
  • 500 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air missiles (AMRAAM)
  • 2,000 Dual Mode Laser guided/GPS guided munitions (500-pound  and 2000-pound)
  • 1,100 GBU-24 PAVEWAY III Laser guided bombs (2000-pound)
  • 1,000 GBU-31B Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) (2000-pound)
  • 400 AGM-84 Block II HARPOON air-launched anti-ship cruise missiles
  • 600 AGM-88B HARM missiles
  • 3,000 General purpose bombs (500-pound and 2000-pound)
  • 1,300 CBU-105D/B Cluster bombs (Sensor Fuzed weapons) with Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers
  • 4,768 AGM-114R HELLFIRE II missiles
  • 150 JAVELIN Anti-tank missiles

India

$8.0 billion

  • 10 C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft
  • 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers
  • 21 AGM-84L Block II HARPOON anti-ship cruise missiles
  • Equipment, parts, and weapons systems for 22 Apache Longbow helicopters

    Taiwan

    $6.4 billion

    • 60 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters with 120 T700-GE-701D engines
    • 18 spare T700-GE-701D engines
    • 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
    • 10 RTM-84L Block II HARPOON Telemetry anti-ship cruise missiles
    • 2 ATM-84L Block II HARPOON Telemetry anti-ship cruise missiles
    • 2 OSPREY class mine-hunting ships

    United Arab Emirates

    $5.4 billion

    • 30 AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow helicopters
    • 30 AH-64D Block II Apache Longbow helicopters, remanufactured to Block III configurations
    • 120 T700-GE-701D engines
    • 100 Army Tactical Missile System units and 60 Low Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rockets
    • Logistics support for two C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft

      Iraq

      $4.9 billion

      • 18 F-16IQ aircraft
      • 200 AIM-9L/M-8/9 SIDEWINDER missiles
      • 150 AIM-7M-F1/H SPARROW missiles
      • 50 AGM-65D/G/H/K MAVERICK air-to-ground missiles
      • 200 GBU-12 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units (500-pound), 50 GBU-10 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units (2000-pound), 50 GBU-24 PAVEWAY III Laser Guided Bomb Units (2000-pound)
      • Refurbishment of 440 M113A2 Armored Personnel Carriers including installation of M2 .50 Cal machine guns
      • 33,630 rounds of ammunition for the M1A1 Abrams tank

        Below are all 28 countries that sought U.S. arms exports in 2010 according to FMS notifications and the total value of their identified requests (in billions of U.S. dollars):

        Country Total Value
        ($ Billions)
        Saudi Arabia
        60.976
        India
        8.047
        Taiwan
        6.392
        U.A.E.
        5.390
        Iraq
        4.884
        Oman
        3.630
        Australia
        2.533
        Denmark
        2.000
        Israel
        2.000
        Kuwait
        1.593
        Thailand
        .700
        Pakistan
        .575
        Sweden
        .546
        Canada
        .520
        U.K.
        .512
        Switzerland
        .358
        Egypt
        .287
        Tunisia
        .282
        Netherlands
        .194
        Colombia .162
        Spain .155
        Japan .152
        Singapore .150
        Germany .146
        Chile .105
        Finland .100
        Bahrain .070
        France .069

        Below are the total values of all notified requests each yearfrom 1997 to 2010 in billions of U.S. dollars as compiled each year, in current dollars (unadjusted for inflation):

        Year   
        Total Value
        ($ Billions, current dollars)
        2010 103
        2009 39
        2008 75
        2007 39
        2006 37
        2005 12
        2004
        12
        2003
        7
        2002 16
        2001 19
        2000 12
        1999 21
        1998 12
        1997 11

        Xiaodon Liang assisted in the research and writing of this fact sheet.

        ENDNOTES
        1. The Department of State is also required to report to Congress any commercial sales it approves of “major defense equipment” that amount to $14 million or more, defense articles and services that equal or exceed $50 million, and any items defined as “significant military equipment.” As in the case of FMS sales, Congress can block the sale with a joint resolution of disapproval within 30 calendar days of notification (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea). There are no official compilations of commercial agreement data comparable to the FMS notifications and what exists is often incomplete and less precise than data on government-to-government transactions (Grimmett, Richard F., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2001-2009, Washington, D.C., Congressional Research Service, September 10, 2010, p. 23). The annual Section 655 report, prepared by the State and Defense Departments for Congress, details commercial licenses approved, but states have four years to act under the licenses. The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has final responsibility for license applications for commercial defense trade exports and all issues related to defense trade compliance, enforcement, and reporting.

        2. Congress approved the higher notification thresholds for NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand in legislation passed in September 2002. South Korea was added to this list in 2008, and Israel was added in 2010.

        3. Helicopter related (units, engines, parts, support, electronics, and training) requests were proposed by Australia, Colombia, Denmark, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.

        Sources: Congressional Research Service, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and Department of State.

        Posted: February 3, 2011