Aerospace & Defense

This Is the Company Profiting Most From War

Many of the military conflicts around the world exist in nations that do not have the capacity to make sophisticated weapons. Most of these are in Africa and the Middle East. These include conflicts in Nigeria and Ethiopia. Largest conflicts involving regime change. This includes Iraq. In the case of Iraq, American forces left behind weapons that can still be used.

There are countries that believe they need protection against possible conflict, many of which spend hundreds of millions of dollars on weapons. Saudi Arabia and Turkey are good examples. Several nations provide most of these weapons. The United States is at the top of this list by far, but it includes several European nations and Russia.

In some of these “weapon providing” nations, companies and not the government design and build these weapons. Several have become among the largest corporations in the world, and several are public and have shares that trade on major stock markets.

To determine the company profiting the most from war, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Top 100 Arms-Producing Military Services Companies, 2020. Companies were ranked based on SIPRI’s estimates of arms and military services sales in 2020. Some Chinese companies were not considered due to a lack of sufficient data. Arms and military services sales figures came from SIPRI. Revenue figures for the latest fiscal year came from financial reports and corporate press releases.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the global economy, arms sales continued to increase. The 100 largest military contractors sold $531 billion in arms and military services, a 1.3% increase compared to 2019, according to SIPRI.

Though many of these companies we considered primarily work to develop new technologies for the military, these projects often end up having civilian applications. Many everyday items and technologies like microwaves, GPS, and even the internet were initially conceived of either by or for the U.S. military.

The company profiting the most from war is Lockheed Martin. Here are the details:

> Sales for most recent fiscal year: $65.4 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2020: $58.2 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2020: 89%
> 1-year change in arms sales: +7.7%

Lockheed Martin Corp. retained its place at the top of the list of the companies profiting the most from war — a position it has occupied every year since 2009. The American military contractor sold $58.2 billion worth of arms and military services in 2020, accounting for almost 90% of the company’s total sales. Lockheed Martin’s arms sales increased by 7.7% from 2019 to 2020.

The company suffered a high-profile flop in 2021, when the Air Force admitted that the stealth fighter jets Lockheed Martin had spent over two decades working on were a failure. The U.S. military wanted to replace the aging F-16s, but Lockheed’s attempts at designing new aircraft were consistently delayed, and once they were finally produced, they did not meet the capability rating benchmark the military wanted.

Click here to see which 20 companies are profiting most from war.