17:33 GMT22 April 2021
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    If the United States does not make it easier and quicker for US allies to buy American weapons, those nations will turn to China to fill their orders, said the head of the US Air Force acquisition.

    Bill LaPlante, speaking at an event put by on the Lexington Institute, a Washington think tank, said US allies will buy Chinese weapons even if they are inferior copies of US arms and munitions, Breaking Defense reported.

    "US stuff is in incredibly high demand. Overseas people are desperate, they are desperate for our stuff," LaPlante said. "We need to do something about it. It's urgent,"

    LaPlante just returned from the Dubai Air Show, where he said China showcased its reconnaissance drone which looked just like the Reaper, along with a new fighter that looks just like the F-35.

    Unlike the United States, China does not have a cap on drone exports, LaPlante noted.

    LaPlante said he held bilateral talks with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others about their interest in buying US weapons.

    "But our partners are saying, even if [a Chinese weapon] doesn't work, I can buy theirs. Even if it doesn't work that well and works about a third of the time. It's still worth it," LaPlante said they told him. "Those guys are at war and it's existential for them."

    LaPlante said he does not yet have an answer for how to expedite the sales process, but said the US military will rely on defense industry experts to help produce a solution.

    Tags:
    arms export, military aid, Bill LaPlante, China, US
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