Global military spending increased by 3.9% in 2017, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The global rise was driven partially by a $9.6 billion hike in U.S. spending — the United States is the world’s largest defense spender by a wide margin. What growing arms investments will mean for the future of international peace is unclear. What is clear is that defense companies around the world are benefitting tremendously.
Total arms sales among the world’s 100 largest defense contractors topped $398 billion in 2017 after climbing for the third consecutive years. Notably, Russia became the second largest arms-producing country this year, overtaking the United Kingdom for the first time since 2002. The United States’ position as the top arms-producing nation in the world remains unchanged, and for now unchallenged.
The United States is home to half of the world’s 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57% of total arms sales of the world’s 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data.
Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny earlier this year after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed’s revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets for the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to identify the companies profiting most from war. Companies were ranked based on arms sale revenue. Chinese companies were not considered due to lack of sufficient data. Total 2017 revenue and arms sales were provided by SIPRI. Employee counts and profits came from SEC filings and corporate press releases.