There was a 1.1% increase in global military spending 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. arms expenditure — the United States is the world’s largest defense spender by a wide margin. Though it is yet unclear what the growing arms investments will mean for international relations, major defense contractors around the world stand to benefit.
Total arms sales among the world’s 100 largest defense contractors topped $398 billion in 2017 after climbing for the third consecutive year. Notably, Russia, one of the countries with the fastest growing militaries over the last decade, became the second largest arms-producing country, 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 five of the world’s 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57% of total arms sales by the world’s 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data.
Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny 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 of 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. Profits and total sales came from fiscal year 2017 annual financial disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or published independently. Employee counts are the most recent available estimates, and are in some cases from corporations’ 2018 financial disclosures.