Oct. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. manufacturers sold weapons valued at $55.4 billion to foreign partners in fiscal year 2019, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.
Payments from partner countries accounted for $48.25 billion of the total. Another $3.67 billion came from grant assistance programs, including Foreign Military Financing and the Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative. Cases funded under the Defense Department's Title 10 grant assistance programs, including a fund for training and equipping the Afghan Security Forces Fund, added another $3.47 billion.
An average of $51 billion in sales in the past three years indicates a "continued strength in the sales of U.S. defense articles and services to allies and foreign partners," DSCA said in a statement.
Sales totaled $55.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2018, a large increase from $41.93 billion in Fiscal Year 2017. Procurement of fighter planes, like the F-35B Lightning II at up to $115 million per plane, have a strong impact on yearly figures.
The three-year trend is indicative of a reform to the Foreign Military Sales process begun in the administration of President Barack Obama, and a belief, in the administration of President Donald Trump, that weapons sales are a valuable economic stimulant worthy of prioritization.
"Security cooperation has been elevated to a tool of first resort for U.S. foreign policy," Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, DSCA director, said on Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference. "We, the United States, will continue to embody what makes us great; transparency in our business practices, responsiveness to our partners' needs, integrity in all that we do and commitment to not only advance our national security objectives but those of our partners as well."