Special Report

Fastest Growing Weapons Manufacturers in the World

Global military spending topped $2 trillion in 2021 for the first time, as spending on weapons, military hardware, armies, and ancillary logistics and technical operations has grown by 12% over the past decade. Russian military aggression against Ukraine and China’s efforts to grow its military presence in the sea and air have been top contributors to this growth in recent years. (Here are the weapons the U.S. is supplying Taiwan.)

The West’s concern over Russia has generated a boom in military spending, especially in the United States, which is home to a dozen of the world’s 25 fastest-growing arms-producing and military services companies. 

To determine the fastest growing defense contractors, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the report “The SIPRI Top 100 Arms-producing and Military Services Companies, 2021,” as well as earlier reports, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Companies were ranked based on the percentage change in arms and military services sales from 2017 to 2021. All data came from SIPRI and is in constant 2021 dollars.

Established American names in the global defense industry like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and KBR share this space with lesser-known players like ManTech International, Vectrus, and Curtiss-Wright. From 2017 to 2021, U.S. military contractors increased arms sales between 20% for military shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls and 106% for Jacobs Solutions (formerly Jacobs Engineering), a company that provides a range of technical services to the U.S. military. (The U.S. government is involved in secret wars in 15 countries.)

Seven of the 25 fastest-growing military contractors are based in Europe, including two in France – MBDA and Safran – and two in Italy, Leonardo and Fincantieri, and one each in the U.K., Germany, and Sweden. The remaining military contractors on this list are located in Israel, Turkey, Singapore, India, and China.

State-owned China State Shipbuilding Corporation is the world’s fastest-growing military manufacturer based, growing its defense-related revenue by 114% to $11.1 billion between 2017 and 2021. About 21% of CSSC’s business is military related.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have by far the largest defense-related operations on the list, with 2021 defense-related revenue around $60 billion and $30 billion, respectively. The rest have far smaller arms and military services operations – 19 companies had $5 billion and under defense-related revenue in 2021. 

Here are the world’s fastest growing defense contractors.

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