Special Report

20 Companies Profiting the Most from War

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. General Dynamics Corp.
> Sales for most recent fiscal year: $37.9 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2020: $25.8 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2020: 68%
> 1-year change in arms sales: +3.9%

General Dynamics Corp. is one of the five largest arms and military services providers in the world for 2020. The Reston, Virginia-headquartered defense contractor sold $25.8 billion in arms and military services in 2020, accounting for more than two-thirds of its $37.9 billion in total sales.

In December 2021, General Dynamics was awarded a contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to support its networks, security, and cloud computing. The contract could run for a decade and be worth up to $4.5 billion.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

4. Northrop Grumman Corp.
> Sales for most recent fiscal year: $36.8 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2020: $30.4 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2020: 83%
> 1-year change in arms sales: +2.5%

Northrop Grumman Corp. is one of just four companies that sold more than $30 billion in arms and military services in 2020. Arms sales accounted for 83% of the company’s total sales that year and represented a 2.5% increase from the year before.

The defense contractor creates vehicles, navigational systems, technology, weapons, and more for applications on sea, air, land, and space as well as cybersecurity and communications.

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3. Boeing
> Sales for most recent fiscal year: $58.2 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2020: $32.1 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2020: 55%
> 1-year change in arms sales: -5.8%

Aerospace giant Boeing is among the top three companies that profited the most from war in 2020. More than half of the company’s $58.2 billion in sales came from arms and military services, amounting to $32.1 billion. Though the company’s arms sales declined by 5.8% from the year before, Boeing remained the third largest military contractor in the world.

Boeing struggled overall in 2020, with total sales dipping by $19.6 billion compared to 2019, largely due to the decline in commercial aviation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, just 44% of the company’s total sales came from arms and military services. In 2020, that increased to 55%, the largest percentage-point jump of any major military contractor in the world.

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2. Raytheon Technologies
> Sales for most recent fiscal year: $56.6 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2020: $36.8 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2020: 65%
> 1-year change in arms sales: -5.7%

Raytheon Technologies was recently formed via a merger between Raytheon Company

and United Technologies Corporation in 2020. It sold $36.8 billion in arms and military services in 2020, down by 5.7% from the combined arms sales of Raytheon and UTC from 2019.

Raytheon produces missiles, radars, sonars, weapons, and targeting systems, as well as maritime navigational systems. Raytheon is one of several companies the Pentagon recently selected to develop a missile system that could protect the U.S. from a hypersonic attack.

Source: JHVEPhoto / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

1. Lockheed Martin Corp.
> 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.

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