24, February, 2024
HomeWorldUkraine War Spurs Surge: US Arms Exports Hit Record High

Ukraine War Spurs Surge: US Arms Exports Hit Record High

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The overseas sales of United States weapons soared to unprecedented heights in 2023, reaching a staggering total of $238 billion (approx. Rs. 19 lakh crore), as reported by BBC. This surge in sales was largely driven by heightened demand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

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According to the US State Department, direct government-negotiated sales amounted to $81 billion (approx. Rs. 6 lakh crore), marking a significant 56% increase from the previous year.

Amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the US administration is strategically leveraging the situation in Europe and Asia to reduce dependency on Russia’s arms shipments by other nations. The concerns extend to the possibility of Moscow’s aggression against other countries.

The US continues to be the largest provider of global military sales, with its market share expanding. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that the US accounted for 40% of all arms exports from 2018 to 2022, up from 33% in the preceding five years.

Notable Highlights:

Poland’s Military Expansion: Poland, Ukraine’s neighbor, emerged as a leading buyer, making substantial purchases including $12 billion on Apache helicopters, $10 billion on High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars), $3.75 billion on M1A1 Abrams tanks, and $4 billion on Integrated Air and Missile Defence Battle Command Systems. Prime Minister Donald Tusk emphasized the commitment to making Poland “the most powerful land force in Europe.”

Major Buyers of US Military Equipment: Germany invested $8.5 billion in Chinook helicopters, Bulgaria spent $1.5 billion on armored vehicles, and Norway acquired $1 billion worth of helicopters. The Czech Republic, purchasing $5.6 billion in F-35 jets and munitions, also stands among the top buyers.

Global Dominance Despite Challenges: Despite Russia and China making aggressive strides into the arms business, the US maintains its supremacy. According to SIPRI, US arms exports increased by 7% between 2013 and 2018, while Russia’s and China’s declined by 31% and 23%, respectively.

Ukraine’s Role: In a notable development, Ukraine became the world’s third-largest receiver of US military weapons last year.

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The State Department underscores the importance of arms transfers and defense trade as crucial US foreign policy tools, with potential long-term implications for regional and global security.

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