Made in America? That seems to be an old-fashioned idea. The assertion that the United States imports more than it exports seems to hold true when consumers look at their clothes hampers or their electronic gadgets.

The perspective changes when it comes to industrial products, though.

San Diego defense and technology companies are good at finding overseas markets. Need proof? This page has several examples.

Consider that the U.S. Air Force just awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. the main contract to build its Global Hawk autonomous spy aircraft for Japan. As a foreign military sale, the Air Force takes the lead and acts as an agent for the Japanese government. The Global Hawk is a high-altitude spy aircraft.

The value of the deal is expected to be $490 million. Work will be done in San Diego and is expected to last through September 2022.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), the Virginia-based defense contracting giant, runs the program in San Diego and builds the aircraft in Palmdale. Japan is buying three Block 30i Global Hawk aircraft with enhanced integrated sensor suite payloads, as well as two ground control elements, spares and support equipment. The deal also covers system engineering and program management.

In October 2017, the Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a preliminary, $130.5 million contract for the Japanese Global Hawks — specifically, for components that take a long time to manufacture.

The Pentagon announced the award on Nov. 20. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base made the award.