Boosted by massive fighter jet deals with Saudi Arabia and Japan, U.S. foreign military sales have shot past $50 billion in a record-breaking year, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.
Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, underlined that the United States also hopes to boost sales with India, which is mulling a $1.4 billion deal for 22 Apache helicopters.
"Today, I can confirm that this is already a record-breaking year for foreign military sales. We have already surpassed $50 billion in sales in fiscal year 2012," which ends September 30, Shapiro told journalists in a conference call.
This figure already represents a 70 percent increase over government-to-government sales by the United States in 2011, itself a record-setting year at just over $30 billion.
"Obviously the sale to Saudi Arabia was very significant," said Shapiro, referring to a $29.4 billion deal that included 84 Boeing-made F-15SA fighter jets and upgrades to its existing fleet of 70 F-15s.
"But this number also includes the sale of the Joint Strike Fighter to Japan, which is valued at approximately $10 billion," the official said.
Shapiro said it was too early to predict whether 2013 would see a further increase in foreign military sales but said the United States would seek to continue expanding into key markets, including India.
"We've made tremendous progress in the relationship (with India) over the last decade. We went from nearly zero sales to about a billion dollars in sales," he said.
"Going forward, there are a number of tenders which we hope for success on, including a tender for Apache helicopters, and we continue to advocate for them and we are hopeful that we'll be successful on a number of sales over the coming year with India."
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