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Eight years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's new government is looking more stable, its economy healthier, and its bank account -- downright flush. The best news of all (for some people) is that with oil revenue bulging, Iraq has decided to spend much of its newfound wealth on the very country that sent Saddam packing all those years ago: the U.S.
Earlier this year, we mentioned how Iraq has been gradually upgrading its hodgepodge military arsenal --starting slow with a flight of Russian Mi-17 helicopters, but then gradually advancing to superior General Dynamics (NYSE: GD ) main battle tanks, and now, finally, an air force of F-16 fighter jets.
The planes, built by America's Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) , will form the backbone of Iraq's reconstituted air force. Yesterday, we learned that Iraq has already paid the first $1.5 billion tranche. And with 36 planes reportedly on order (18 now, 18 more later), the contract promises to provide $8.4 billion for Lockheed when all's said and done.
It's not the perfect solution to repairing Lockheed's battered revenue stream, but it's a start.
Can foreign arms sales fill the gap in U.S. defense spending for Lockheed? Who else out there might have fourth-gen fighter jets on their shopping list? Add Lockheed Martin to your Fool Watchlist and find out.