10. United Technologies (NYSE: UTX)
> Arm sales 2011: $11.6 billion
> Total sales 2011: $58.2 billion
> Total profit: $5.3 billion
> Total employment: 199,900
> Sector: Aircraft, electronics, engines
United Technologies makes a wide range of arms — notably military helicopters, including the Black Hawk helicopter for the U.S. Army and Seahawk helicopter for the U.S. Navy. The company was the most profitable of all companies on this list, making more than $5.3 billion in 2011. It was also the largest company on this list by headcount, employing nearly 200,000 people worldwide as of 2011. Arms comprised just 20% of the company’s $58.2 billion in sales in 2011. Other products made by United Technologies include elevators, escalators, air-conditioners and refrigerators. International sales comprised 60% of the company’s total revenue in 2012.
9. L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL)
> Arm sales 2011: $12.5 billion
> Total sales 2011: $15.2 billion
> Total profit: $956 million
> Total employment: 61,000
> Sector: Electronics
Some 83% of L-3 Communications sales in 2011 came from arms sales, totaling just over $12.5 billion. This was down, however, from about $13.1 billion in arms sales in 2010. The company has four different business segments: electronic systems; aircraft modernization and maintenance; national security solutions; and command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Among many products manufactured, the company has become a major provider of unmanned aircraft systems. In 2011, the company turned a profit of $956 million and employed approximately 61,000 people.
> Arm sales 2011: $14.6 billion
> Total sales 2011: $24.1 billion
> Total profit: $-3.2 billion
> Total employment: 70,470
> Sector: Aircraft, artillery, engines, electronics, military vehicles, missiles, small arms/ammunition
Italian company Finmeccanica makes a wide range of arms, including helicopters and security electronics. Of the company’s nearly $24.1 billion in sales in 2011, 60% were in arms. Finmeccanica lost $3.2 billion in 2011. The Italian company is currently fending off allegation that it paid bribes to win an approximately $750 million contract to provide 12 military helicopters to the Indian government back in 2010. The then-head of the company, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested in February but has denied wrongdoing. Other executives, including the head of the company’s helicopter unit, have been replaced, and the company has delayed the release of recent financial results until the situation is resolved.
> Arm sales 2011: $16.4 billion
> Total sales 2011: $68.3 billion
> Total profit: $1.4 billion
> Total employment: 133,120
> Sector: Aircraft, electronics, missiles, space
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), based in the Netherlands, had $16.4 billion worth of arms sales in 2011, roughly in line with 2010. Arms sales, however, comprised just 24% of the company’ entire sales, which totaled about $68.3 billion in 2011. EADS and BAE Systems attempted to merge for $45 billion in 2012, which would have created the world’s largest aerospace company. However, the deal collapsed in October after German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concern that the new company would marginalize the influence of the German government and would focus decision making in France and the U.K.
6. Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC)
> Arm sales 2011: $21.4 billion
> Total sales 2011: $26.4 billion
> Total profit: $2.1 billion
> Total employment: 72,500
> Sector: Aircraft, electronics, missiles, ships, space
Like many of the companies on this list, Northrop Grumman makes a wide range of arms, including unmanned systems; air and missile defense radars; and critical incident response systems. In 2011, Northrop Grumman reported about $21.4 billion in arms sales, comprising 81% of the company’s $26.4 billion in total sales. But arms sales in 2011 declined from $28.2 billion in arms sales in 2010, after growing by $3.5 billion between 2007 and 2010. The company attributed the decline to reduced government spending on defense projects. Nevertheless, the company reported a profit of more than $2.1 billion in fiscal 2011, slightly better than the company’s earnings the previous year.