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U.S. was No. 1 worldwide in weapons sales in 2015 at $40B

By Allen Cone 

An Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter jet launches anti-missile flares during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli Air Force pilots at the Hatzerim Base in the Negev Desert, near Beersheva, Israel, December 26, 2013. Israel purchased $4.6 billion in arms in 2015. File photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
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The United States sold $40.2 billion worth of weapons in 2015 -- by far the most in the world, according to a new congressional study.
The figure represents 31 percent of all arms sales globally. France was far behind in second place at $15.2 billion, according to the "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015," by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress.
The largest purchasers were developing nations at $65.2 billion -- 81.7 percent of the total $79.9 billion. Qatar's deals were worth $17.5 billion, and Egypt followed with $11.9 billion in arms and Saudi Arabia at $8.6 billion. Next were South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.
The top arms sellers increased their sales in 2015. U.S. weapons sales increased by around $4 billion and France's deals increased by well over $9 billion.
Russia's sales dropped to $11.1 billion from $11.2 billion in 2014. China's sales doubled to $6 billion from 2014. Next were Sweden, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Britain and Israel.
Despite global tensions and terrorism, the total size of the global arms trade dropped about $9 billion from the 2014 total of $89 billion, the study found.
Sales have dropped "due, in part, to the weakened state of the global economy," Catherine A. Theohary, a national security policy specialist at the Congressional Research Service and author of the study told The New York Times.
"Concerns over their domestic budget problems have led many purchasing nations to defer or limit the purchase of new major weapon systems," she added. "Some nations have chosen to limit their purchasing to upgrades of existing systems and to training and support services."

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