Procurement: May 10, 2004


The U.S. has exported some $13 billion in weapons each year for the past three years, and is the largest arms exporter in the world. This year, however, sales will be up to about $13.8 billion. One thing that has kept sales so high, when many nations are still downsizing because of the end of the Cold War, is the need for spare parts, maintenance services and upgrades. This brings in about five billion dollars a year for American suppliers. Arms sales by all countries is about $30 billion a year. Saudi Arabia is the world largest arms buyer, spending some five billion dollars a year on weapons purchases (including spare parts and services.) Russia (when it was the Soviet Union), had arms sales nearly equal to that of the United States. But the end of the Cold War damaged Russia's reputation as a supplier of quality arms.  Currently, the Russians are exporting about five billion dollars a year in weapons. However, it is Russian weapons that are doing most of the killing world wide. A flood of Russian Cold War surplus AK-47s, mortars, grenades and landmines have equipped many rebel organizations, and dictatorial (and usually broke) governments in the last decade. Even before that, the Soviet Union was the most common source of weapons that were actually used to kill people. So what Russian weapons dont accomplish in sales, they make up for in body count. 


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