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former IAEA Director-General

Proposed U.S. Arms Export Agreements From January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
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Contact: Jeff Abramson, Non-Resident Senior Fellow for Arms Control and Conventional Arms Transfers, [email protected]

Updated: October 2012

After a record high of an estimated $102.5 billion in proposed conventional arms sales agreements in 2010, government-to-government arms sales agreements fell to $25 billion in 2011.  The spike in the value of U.S. arms control agreements in 2010 was largely due to a proposed $61 billion in arms sales by Saudi Arabia.  The $25 billion in agreements requested in 2011 was $10 billion below the ten-year average from 2001 to 2010 ($35.9 billion), but was nearly identical to the average once the 2010 outlier is taken out ($25.6 billion).

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.

Taiwan requested the most expensive package of arms sales agreements in 2011, with $5.8 billion requested.  Approximately $5.3 billion of Taiwan's request was for the retrofitting of Taiwan's 145 aging F-16A/B aircraft, along with associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.  The agreement also includes an extension of the Taiwanese pilot training program at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, as well as provides advanced radar systems and guided bombs.  However, Washington continued to deny Taipei the 66 F-16 C/D aircraft that it has been seeking since 2006.  The proposed sale of F-16C/D to Taiwan has been a contentious issue in U.S.-China relations since its proposal in 2006 and has recently caused domestic political problems for the Obama administration.  For instance, in 2011 Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Robert Menendez (R-NJ) attempted to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 that would have forced President Obama to approve the F-16C/D deal with Taiwan.

Australia also requested $3.4 billion in arms from the United States in 2011, a 36% increase from 2010.  The Australian government sought 2 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, 10 C-27J aircraft, and 110 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles.  Additionally, the proposed agreement included 10-years of Through-Life-Support (TLS) for 24 MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters.  This is the second year in a row that Australia has been among the five countries that sought the highest value of U.S. arms exports.

The Middle East once again had three out of five of the nations seeking the highest values of U.S. arms exports in 2011 with Iraq ($3.4 billion), Saudi Arabia ($2.3 billion), and the United Arab Emirates ($1.4 billion) each requesting significant amounts of military equipment.  In 2011, Iraq requested the second-highest amount of U.S. arms exports at $3.4 billion.  Iraq's request included a variety of advanced radar and radio systems, 18 F-16IQ aircraft, 44,608 M107 155mm High Explosive Projectiles and 9,328 M485A2 155mm Illumination Projectiles.  Saudi Arabia sought a variety of thermal and night vision equipment, over 100 Light Armored Vehicles, and 450 High Mobility Multipurpose Vehicles of varying models.  The United Arab Emirates requested 218 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II tactical missiles, support for their existing F-16 fleet, 5 UH-60M Blackhawk VIP Helicopters, and over 750 Hellfire and Javelin missiles.


Below are the five countries that sought the highest values in U.S. arms exports in 2011 and some of their specific requests.

Country

Total Value

Weapons/Services

Taiwan

$5.8 billion

  • Spare Parts for F-16A/B, F-5E/F, C-130H, and Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) Aircraft
  • Retrofitting of F-16A/B Aircraft
  • Pilot Training Program

Iraq

$3.4 billion

  • 6 AN/TPQ-36(V)10 Firefinder Radar Systems
  • 18 AN/TPQ-48 Light Weight Counter-Mortar Radars
  • 750 50-Watt Vehicular Multiband Handheld Radio Systems
  • 900 5-Watt Multiband Handlheld Radio Systems
  • 50 50-Watt Multiband Handheld Base Station Radio Systems
  • 50 20-Watt High Frequency Base Station Radio Systems
  • 100 5-Watt Secure Personal Role Handheld Radio Systems
  • Support for TC-208s, Cessna 172s, AC-208s, T-6As, and King Air 350s
  • 44,608 M107 155mm High Explosive Projectiles
  • 9,328 M485A2 155mm Illumination Projectiles
  • 18 F-16IQ aircraft

Australia

$3.4 billion

  • 10-year Through-Life-Support (TLS) for 24 MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters
  • 2 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft
  • 110 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles
  • 10 C-27J aircraft

Saudi Arabia

$2.3 billion

  • 200 High-performance In-Line Sniper Sight Thermal Weapon Sights
  • 200 MilCAM Recon III LocatIR Thermal Binoculars
  • 7,000 Dual Beam Aiming Lasers (DBAL A2)
  • 6000 AN/PVS-21 Low Profile Night Vision Goggles (LPNVG)
  • 48 LAV-25mm Light Armored Vehicles (LAV), 17 LAV Personnel Carriers, 5 LAV Recovery Vehicles, 27 LAV Command and Control Vehicles, 28 LAV Anti-Tank (TOW) Vehicles
  • 404 CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapons
  • AN/VRC-92E Export Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS)
  • 36 M777A2 Howitzers, 54 M119A2 Howitzers
  • 24 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS)
  • 17,136 Rounds M107 155mm High Explosive (HE) Ammunition
  • 2,304 Rounds M549 155mm Rocket Assisted Projectiles
  • 60 M1165A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Vehicles (HMMWVs)
  • 120 M1151A1 HMMWVs
  • 252 M1152A1 HMMWVs
  • 124 M1152A1-B2 Up-Armored HMMWVs
  • Continuation of Services for Patriot Systems Engineering Services Program (ESP)

United Arab Emirates

$1.4 billion

  • 218 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Tactical Missiles
  • Support and Maintenance of F-16 Aircraft
  • 5 UH-60M Blackhawk VIP Helicopters
  • 107 MIDS/LVT Link 16 Terminals
  • 500 AGM-114R3 Hellfire Missiles
  • 4,900 JDAM Kits
  • 260 Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

Below are all 28 countries that sought U.S. arms exports in 2011 according to FMS notifications and the total value of their identified requests (in billions of U.S. dollars):

Country

Total Value
($ Billions)

Taiwan

5.84

Iraq

3.42

Australia

3.35

Saudi Arabia

2.34

U.A.E.

1.40

Egypt

1.33

India

1.29

Oman

1.25

Indonesia

.750

Qatar

.750

Finland

.585

U.K.

.427

Hungary

.426

Germany

.300

Greece

.260

Poland

.200

France

.180

Argentina

.166

Canada

.125

Malaysia

.124

Peru

.124

Morocco

.117

Turkey

.111

Kuwait

.100

Norway

.095

Pakistan

.062

Ecuador

.060

Bahrain

.053

Below are the total values of all notified requests each yearfrom 1997 to 2011 in billions of U.S. dollars as compiled each year, in current dollars (unadjusted for inflation):

Year

Total Value
($ Billions, current dollars)

2011

25

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

 

-Written by Marcus Taylor

 


 

 

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.

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

 

Posted: October 4, 2012