Pentagon Wants Pre-Approval on UAS Export Sales to Reduce $327 Billion Export Backlog

The Pentagon is processing a record backlog of $327 billion in arms exports and is speeding up the clearance process to meet the rising demand for UAS, said Vice Admiral Bill Landay, head of the agency responsible for weapons exports.

To meet a growing demand for U.S.-made unmanned aircarft systems, the agency plans to speed up the exports process by getting pre-approval for countries that may have an interest in UAS, he said. “We believe unmanned systems is an area of significant interest around the world,” Landay said. “We know U.S. manufacturers have a great desire to sell” UAS to other countries and demand for these systems is rising after countries have seen how the U.S. uses UAS for “fighting and surveillance,” he said.

The most commonly used U.S. unmanned aircraft include the Reaper and Predator systems made by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and the Global Hawk surveillance aircraft made by Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp.

Getting pre-approvals from U.S. agencies, such as the departments of State and Commerce, to release military technology to potential foreign buyers would help the U.S. “be faster and more ahead of the game” when countries express an interest in buying, Landay said.

“We have in excess of 13,000 active cases with more than 165 countries and institutions,” adding up to about $327 billion, he said today at a Pentagon news briefing ahead of the Paris Air Show, which begins June 20.

The agency, which oversees U.S. foreign arms sales, is forecasting fiscal 2011 exports of $46.1 billion, a 45 percent increase from the previous year. Between 2005 and 2010, the agency delivered $96 billion of weapons and military systems to countries around the world, said Landay, who is director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Source: Bloomberg

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