U.S. arms sales to Asia set to boom on Pacific ‘pivot’

U.S. sales of warplanes, anti-missile systems and other costly weapons to China’s and North Korea’s neighbors appear set for significant growth amid regional security jitters.

Strengthening treaty allies and other security partners is central to the White House’s “pivot” toward a Pacific region jolted by maritime territorial disputes in China’s case, and missile and nuclear programs, in North Korea’s.

The pivot “will result in growing opportunities for our industry to help equip our friends,” said Fred Downey, vice president for national security at the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group that includes top U.S. arms makers.

Demand for big-ticket U.S. weapons is expected to stay strong for at least the next few years, the trade group said in a 2012 year-end review and forecast released in December.

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