5. General Dynamics (NYSE: GD)
> Arms sales 2010: $23.94 billion
> Total sales 2010: $32.47 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales: 74%
> Total profit: $2.62 billion
> Total employment: 90,000
> Sector: Artillery, Electronics, Military vehicles, Small arms/ammunition, Ships
General Dynamics is an American defense company that deals in aerospace, combat systems, information systems and technology, and marine systems. Although the company has been around since 1952, it has enjoyed a resurgence beginning in the 1990s, thanks largely to a number of mergers. Since 1997 General Dynamics says it has acquired more than 50 companies. Over this same period, its revenue increased from $4 billion to more than $32 billion. It also added more than 60,000 employees to its workforce. Currently, 74% of the company’s sales are arms sales. General Dynamics owns Electric Boat and Bath Iron Works, two of the largest naval vessel builders in the world. General Dynamics is notable known for its Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, the Seawolf-class submarine, the M1 Abrams tank and the Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer.
4. Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC)
> Arms sales 2010: $28.15 billion
> Total sales 2010: $34.76 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales: 81%
> Total profit: $2.05 billion
> Total employment: 117,100
> Sector: Aircraft, Electronics, Missiles, Ships, Space
Northrop Grumman is the fourth-largest weapons contractor in the U.S. The company, which is based in Falls Church, Va., is one of the leaders in aerospace technology and the leading producer of naval vessels in the world. The company manufactures Nimitz-class carriers that are the current flagships of the U.S. Navy. And over the next few years it is also set to build the new, $9.7 billion Gerald R. Ford-class supercarriers. Northrop Grumman also develops radar systems for aircraft and ground defense, sensor systems for a variety of vehicles and several unmanned aircraft and drones. Weapons systems sales accounted for 81% of company revenue in 2010. Arms sales grew by approximately $3.5 billion between 2007 and 2010.
3. Boeing (NYSE: BA)
> Arms sales 2010: $31.36 billion
> Total sales 2010: $64.31 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales: 49%
> Total profit: $3.31 billion
> Total employment: 160,500
> Sector: Aircraft, Electronics, Missiles, Space
As recently as 2007, Boeing was the largest arms producer in the world. By 2008, it had fallen behind Lockheed Martin and U.K.-based BAE Systems. The aerospace and defense company remains one of the largest in the world, however. Boeing is the second-largest aircraft producer in the world by deliveries, behind only Airbus. It is also the second-largest U.S. government contractor, procuring just under $19.5 billion in contracts in 2010. Major products produced by the company include the KC-767, an aerial refueling tanker, and the F-15 fighter jet. Boeing made less in arms sales in 2010 than it did in 2009, although arms sales made up a larger amount of total sales — two percentage points, to be exact — in 2010 compared to 2009. Even in 2010, however, only 49% of revenue came from arms sales, which is among the lowest rates among companies on this list.
2. BAE Systems
> Arms sales 2010: $32.88 billion
> Total sales 2010: $34.61 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales: 95%
> Total profit: $1.67 billion
> Total employment: 98,200
> Sector: Aircraft, Artillery, Electronics, Missiles, Military vehicles, Small arms/ammunition, Ships
BAE Systems is an aerospace and defense contractor based in the UK. The company has a major U.S. subsidiary, BAE Systems, Inc., which by itself would be the seventh-largest weapons manufacturer in the world. The British company was formed in 1999 through the merger of Marconi Electronics (which was at the time a subsidiary of GE) and British Aerospace. BAE produces weapons systems in nearly every major military category, including aircraft, defense electronics, vehicles, naval vessels and small arms. Among the company’s notable contributions are the M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicle, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Type 45 destroyer and the Astute-class nuclear submarine. In 2010, 95% of its revenue came from arms sales, $32.88 billion in all.
1. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)
> Arms sales 2010: $35.73 billion
> Total sales 2010: $45.80 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales: 78%
> Total profit: $2.93 billion
> Total employment: 132,000
> Sector: Aircraft, Electronics, Missiles, Space
Lockheed Martin is the largest arms-producing and military services company in the world, with nearly $3 billion more in arms sales than second place BAE Systems. Although military sales make up the majority of its revenue, it is significantly less than many other major arms-producers, including BAE’s 95% share. In addition to being the world’s largest arms-seller, Lockheed is also the largest federal contractor in the U.S. by a large margin. In 2010, the company’s government contracts totaled nearly $36 billion. Lockheed produces a number of major products, including the Trident missile and the F-16 and F-22 fighter jets. Despite being the largest military service company on this list, Lockheed is only the fourth-largest company by overall sales among the companies featured on this list. In 2007, the Lockheed was the third-largest arms producer.
Michael B. Sauter, Charles B. Stockdale