War in Ukraine Pushes US Arms Sales Up 49 Pct in Fiscal 2022

The United States registered a major uptick in arms sales to other countries in 2022, jumping from $34.8 billion in sales sales arranged through the US government in 2021 to more than $51.9 billion largely due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

New data released Wednesday by the US State Department shows that rushing to arm themselves in the aftermath of the Feb. 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine, European nations pushed US weapons sales up 49%. 

Data shows that sales of US military equipment to foreign governments rose 48.6 percent to $205.6 billion in the latest fiscal year, including $13.9 billion worth of Boeing’s F-15ID fighter jets to Indonesia, $6.9 billion worth of Lockheed Martin Corp’s Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships to Greece, and $6 billion worth of General Dynamics Corp’s M1A2 Abrams tanks to Poland.

Authorizations adjudicated in support of Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself from Russia’s unprovoked aggression, as the State Department pointed out, also increased the direct commercial sales from $103.4 billion in 2021 to $153.7 billion in weapons and military equipment the American defense contractors sold directly to foreign governments in 2022.

Overseen by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the State Department, arms transfers and defense trade are considered important tools of American foreign policy and national security.

Foreign governments can purchase arms from US companies in two major ways, both of which require US government approval: government-company negotiated direct commercial sales, and foreign military sales in which a Defense Department official is contacted by a foreign government at the US embassy in its capital.

The 2022 numbers that the State Department has announced are essentially potential arms deals it has notified lawmakers of, and not the final sales since it first reviews the deals sought to make sure they line up with Washington’s goals and only notifies Congress of the sale if they’re approved.

The US government can move on to negotiations only after Congress, which has the option to reject a potential sale, approves it.

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