U.S. and European defense companies, hard hit at home by shrinking military budgets, are battling to make big-ticket sales in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf monarchies, whose collective defense spending grew by 20 percent in from 2011 to 2012.

“In some cases,” observed Oxford Analytica, “failure to win orders could mean the end of several major programs.”

From 2008 to 2011, the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain — acknowledged arms deals totaling more than $75.6 billion, the U.S. Center of Strategic and International Studies reported in September. […]