Arms-makers are going through a lean period. Some big contracts, such as ones to make bombers, trainer aircraft and drones, are still up for grabs in America, the world’s biggest spender. But it and other rich-world governments, struggling to curb their deficits, are trying ever harder to get the most bang for the fewest bucks.
The Japanese government has long banned most weapons exports. That policy helped buttress Japan's pacifism, but it also hindered the growth of the country's defense industry. Because it couldn't sell parts overseas, Japanese defense companies missed out on chances to develop fighter jets, tanks and other weaponry with the U.S. That's changing.
There are cyclical industries, and there's the defense industry. In wartime, billions of additional dollars flow to defense contractors from the U.S. government, and in peacetime, Congress tightens the money spigot. It's a cycle that all contractors are used to, except this time around there's an added dimension: the Budget Control Act of 2011 and sequestration.