PARIS — The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency has executed $44.15 billion in U.S. foreign arms sales through June 19, and the agency’s director said he was optimistic the total for the full year would reach last year’s $55.66 billion.
Agency Director U.S. Army Lieutenant General Charles Hooper told business executives and reporters the U.S. government was continuing its concerted drive to step up arms sales to improve the capabilities of allies and accelerate the process.
“I think things are going well, and remember, we still have a quarter left to go,” he said at the Paris Air Show, where more than 400 U.S. companies are exhibiting their aerospace and defense equipment.
Fiscal 2018 arms sales rose 33 percent above the year earlier level, and could rise further in the current fiscal year.
The U.S. government also was working to speed deliveries to countries that purchased U.S. weapons, Hooper said.
One country that had ordered the Raytheon Co. Patriot missile defense system, for example, would receive initial equipment in just two years, far more quickly than in the past, he said.
Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp., the parent of Cedar Rapids-based Collins Aerospace, announced on June 9 their intention to merger. The deal is anticipated to be completed by mid-2020, officials said.
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Hooper told Reuters after his speech that he could not predict the full year level for fiscal 2019, but said he was optimistic last year’s total would be reached again.
“I look at this total. I think we’ve come a long way. I’m always optimistic,” he said.
He said foreign military sales to the European area accounted for more than $13.11 billion of total arms sales executed in fiscal 2018.
Industry executives at the Paris Air Show say demand for weapons in Europe is increasing, in part due to increased threats from Russia, as well as pressure from the United States on European allies to spending on their own security.