FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Sales abroad of U.S. military equipment are a good deal for the U.S. Army and generated a total $19.6 billion last year, the service said.
The Foreign Military Sales program deals last year involved 144 countries. Projected sales for 2013 are estimated at $12.2 billion.
In addition to the hardware itself, the deals often involve provisions for training on use of the systems.
"There's a growth in demand for training," said Army Gen. Dennis Via, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. "We think this is an opportunity we can leverage as we continue to build partner capacity and build relationships with allies and partner nations.
"What I'm finding in my travels, as I meet with embassies and foreign militaries, is they have trust in the equipment the United States provides to them. Certainly, I'd leverage every opportunity to push for a sustainment package as well because, at some point in time it is going to have to be sustained; it is going to have to be maintained."
Via made his comment at the 2013 Association of the U.S. Army Institute of Land Warfare Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Via said the deals promotes interoperability between the U.S. military and allied forces and also helps the Army preserve its own industrial base, arsenals and depots.
"That's been a win-win for both the U.S. Army and our allies as well; and also a win-win for industry," he said.