Business was booming abroad for the United States Army. It brought in some $20 billion in foreign military sales in fiscal year 2015, the commander of Army Materiel Command said Tuesday.
Gen. Dennis Via said at the Association of the U.S. Army conference that the foreign military sales is a “growing business,” according to Defense News. Last fiscal year the Army made about $20.7 billion in foreign military sales and, despite calling it a growth business, is projecting that figure to fall to $15 billion in fiscal year 2016. Reliability is the reason U.S. weapons sell so well, Via said.
"[Foreign buyers] know it works, they know that we have quality assurance, that we provide the total package, that we are there with them for training and training their forces with the global supply chain to help sustain and maintain their equipment at such time when it needs to be reset, we can bring that back … we can reset that equipment and give that back to the most modern and refurbished state,” Via said, according to Defense News.
Sales have been higher than initially predicted the past two years. Saudi Arabia and India have been the largest buyers of United States military equipment in 2015, Bloomberg reported last month. India's buying has especially surged as it has moved to modernize its military.
The down-trending fiscal year 2016 projections are based on international budgets. Essentially, the Army doesn't expect foreign buyers to be as flush with cash to spend next year.
“Believe it or not, a lot of our partner nations are in the same crunch as we are,” Heidi Shyu, the Army’s acquisition executive, said to Defense News. “Their budgets are also coming down, so it’s anticipated their priorities also change, so it’s just an estimate.”
The Middle East has especially slowed buying. “What we are seeing is a decrease or slow down and I think that is impacted by the price of oil,” Via said.
The Army reported that more than 70 nations at the conference have expressed interest in doing business next year, with helicopters and missiles tending to be the best sellers abroad.
The Army has meanwhile struggled with its budget reportedly run thin. Since the ends of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has cut 80,000 soldiers and shut down 13 brigade combat teams, according to an Army Times report.