Special Report

20 Companies Profiting the Most From War

5. General Dynamics Corp.
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $3.35 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $22.00 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 61.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 10.0%

Incorporated in 1952, General Dynamics has sold a wide range of armaments, including missiles, warships, submarines, and rockets to all branches of the U.S. military over its decades-long history.

The company was awarded in 2018 contracts worth $4.8 billion to build DDG-51s, a class of warship used by the U.S. Navy. In 2019, it received contracts worth over $4 billion. In the largest acquisition in the company’s history, General Dynamics acquired in April 2018 IT giant CSRA for $9.7 billion. The acquisition was the primary driver of the 16.9% revenue growth in 2018, according to the company.

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4. Raytheon
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $2.88 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $23.44 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 87.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 3.9%

The fourth largest defense contractor in the world, Raytheon is a missile and long-range precision weapons maker headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. It is one of the five U.S.-based arms and military services contractors dominating the world’s top defense contractors.

Through customers in over 80 countries, the company reported $27.06 billion in revenue in 2018, 87% of which came from arms sales and defense contracts, according to SIPRI estimates. The United States and many of its allies rely on the company’s radars and ballistic missile interceptors as part of their defense strategy. Raytheon also makes a wide range of air-to-surface, surface-to-air, air-to-air, and surface-to-surface precision guided missiles, in addition to bombs, torpedoes, and tactical small-arms sights.

3. Northrop Grumman Corp.
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $3.23 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $26.19 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 87.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 14.0%

Northrop Grumman Corp., founded in Hawthorne, California, in 1939, is known today for its B-2 stealth bomber line. According to SIPRI, Northrop Grumman made $26.19 billion from arms and military service sales in 2018, up 14% from 2017.

Like several other top defense contractors, Northrop Grumman Corp’s 2018 acquisition of aviation and military technology company Orbital ATK for $9.2 billion was one of the larger deals of the year. The deal, which vastly improved Northrop Grumman Corp.’s space capabilities, was considered part of the industry-wide preparations for Trump’s military modernization program announced in 2017, which included the establishment of a Space Force.

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2. Boeing
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $19.64 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $29.15 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 29.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 5.7%

According to SIPRI, Boeing made $29.15 billion in arms and military services sales in 2018, the second most of any company worldwide. Defense contracts accounted for 29% of Boeing’s revenue, a relatively low share compared with other top military services companies. A bulk of Boeing’s revenue comes from sales of commercial aircraft such as the 737, 747, 767, 777, and 787 families.

In October of this year, leaked messages from Boeing engineers revealed that company officials knew of serious issues with Boeing’s 737 Max, but failed to disclose them to regulators. In its effort to repair the damage done to its brand and relationships, Boeing announced on Dec. 23 the firing of CEO Dennis Muilenburg. Current board of directors Chairman David Calhoun was named as Muilenburg’s successor.

1. Lockheed Martin Corp.
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $7.27 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $47.26 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 88.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 5.2%

Lockheed Martin is by far the largest defense contractor in the world. The Bethesda, Maryland, company made $47.26 billion in arms and defense contracts last year, considerably more than the arms and military services sales at Boeing, the second largest defense contractor. While indisputably the largest arms and military services company on this list, Lockheed is nowhere near the size of civilian manufacturing companies. The four largest manufacturing companies — Toyota, VW, Apple, and Samsung — each had well over $200 billion in sales in 2018. This is largely because of legal constraints on arms transfers and the limited pool of customers available to defense contractors.

The company makes a wide range of military aircraft, including the F-16, F-22, and F-35 fighter jets, as well as sonar technologies, ships, missile defense systems, and missiles used by the Navy. Approximately 70% of Lockheed’s $53.8 billion net sales in 2018 came from the U.S. government, more than the entire budget of the Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency combined.