U.S. defence exports hit record high in fiscal year 2023

By Defence Industry Europe

The U.S. State Department announced that sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments soared to a record USD 238 billion in 2023. This 16% increase is largely attributed to countries replenishing their stocks sent to Ukraine and preparing for potential conflicts.


These sales are expected to boost the financial outlook for major defence contractors like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman. The State Department regards these arms sales and transfers as crucial tools in U.S. foreign policy, with broad implications for regional and global security.



Notable sales approved in 2023 include USD 10 billion worth of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Poland, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, and USD 2.9 billion worth of AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-To-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Germany, made by RTX, formerly known as Raytheon. Additionally, Ukraine received National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), jointly produced by RTX and Norway’s Kongsberg.

Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics are gearing up for a busy period, expecting robust orders for artillery rounds, Patriot missile interceptors, and armored vehicles, which are projected to bolster their financial results in the upcoming quarters.



U.S. arms sales to foreign governments are conducted through two primary channels: direct commercial sales negotiated directly with companies and foreign military sales facilitated by a U.S. Defence Department official typically based at the U.S. embassy in the purchasing country. Both methods require U.S. government approval.

The fiscal year 2023 saw direct military sales by U.S. companies increase to USD 157.5 billion from USD 153.6 billion in 2022. Sales arranged through the U.S. government also rose significantly, reaching USD 80.9 billion in 2023 compared to USD 51.9 billion the previous year.



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