The weapons and arms industry is one of the largest and most lucrative industries in the entire world. The cost of producing a single fighter jet, for example, is astronomically high, and the companies that can secure government contracts to produce, say 1,000 jet fighters, make a good bit of money. There are a wide range of different companies out there that produce weapons and technologies for the military forces of the world, but some are much larger than others. Here is a list of ten of the largest arms manufacturing companies in the entire world.
Photo Tom Lalor/U.S. Navy/Getty Images
10. The Thales Group
The Thales Group is a French company that designs and produces a range of products for the defense, security, and aerospace markets of the world. Founded in 2000, the Thales Group quickly rose to the top as one of the largest arms manufacturers in the entire world. They have worked with a variety of other companies to produce products that range from advanced military helmets for the French Army to the SPECTRA fighter jet and the Future Carriers which will be used by the British Royal Navy. The Thales Group also makes surface-to-air missiles, drones, remote weapon stations, cyber security systems, and more. In 2014 they reported some $12.9 billion dollars in sales and a total net income of $761 million dollars.
Photo from thalesgroup.com
9. Finmeccanica S.p.A.
Finmeccanica S.p.A. is a massive Italian multinational company that is one of the leading companies in the defense, aerospace, and security industries. They have offices in over 100 different countries around the world, and own a long list of subsidiaries. The own Alenia Aermacchi which produces fighter planes, AgustaWestland which makes helicopters, DRS Technologies which makes UAV drones, Oto Melara which produces artillery and naval guns, Selex ES which makes jets, drones, and security systems, and a host of other subsidiaries. They are an absolutely massive company that makes just about everything related to the arms industry. Finmeccanica is also financially successful, having reported $17.7 billion dollars in revenue for 2014.
Photo from agustawestland.com
8. The United Technologies Corporation
Headquartered in Farmington, Connecticut, the United Technologies Corporation is an American multinational conglomerate that oversees a wide range of different products and subsidiaries. While the company does make plenty of products for the commercial and industrial markets of the world, they also make products for the military. Of their $65.1 billion dollars in net sales, 20% of those sales come from the production of arms. UTC produces engines for aircrafts, military communication systems, sensors and radars for military vehicles, missile systems, and more. However they are best known as the parent company of Sikorsky Aircraft which produces many helicopters including the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
7. The Airbus Group
The Airbus Group is a large multinational European company that’s best know for their commercial aircraft. However one of their large divisions, Airbus Defense and Space, produces a range of arms and products for the militaries of the world. Obviously they are well-known for their aircrafts like the A400M Atlas and as a partner that produces the Eurofighter Typhoon, but their products extend much further. Airbus also makes military communication systems, rocket engines, military spy satellites, the M51 ballistic missile, radar systems, a range of UAV and UAS drones, and much more.
Photo from Airbus
6. General Dynamics
General Dynamics is a massive American military, aerospace, and defense company that has grown over the years into one of the largest arms manufacturers in the entire world. Like the rest of the companies on our list, General Dynamics produces a wide range of military products under their equally large list of subsidiaries and divisions. Last year they saw $30.8 billion dollars in revenue and $2.5 billion in net income which was made up from the sales of their various products. General Dynamics is responsible for producing the M1 Abrams tanks, the F-16 fighter jets, nuclear submarines, the Stinger and Tomahawk missiles, the GAU-19 gatling guns, the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Stryker Armored Combat Vehicle, and much more.
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
5. Northrop Grumman
Based out of West Falls Church, Virginia, Northrop Grumman is yet another American defense and arms manufacturer that formed up back in 1994. Again, like most arms manufacturers, Northrop Grumman designs and produces a wide range of military products and technologies. Some of their better-known products include the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the T-38 Talon training jet, the BQM-74 Chukar target drone, a few other unmanned drones, radar/navigation systems for missiles and aircraft, and more. They also produce some of the parts that are used to make the range of F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets.
Photo by U.S. Air Force/Getty Images
Raytheon was founded in Massachusetts back in 1922 and have since evolved into one of the largest weapons and arms companies in the entire world. They are one of the largest defense contractors for the United States, seeing around $25 billion dollars in revenue each year, and are the largest producer of guided missiles in the entire world. Their missiles include surface-to-air missiles, missiles for jet fighters, anti-aircraft missiles, and even nuclear missiles. Outside of their missile production, Raytheon produces radar for jet fighters, communication systems, war training simulators, satellite parts, radiation detection devices, and infrared imaging sensors.
Photo from Raytheon
3. BAE Systems
Operating out of London, BAE Systems is a British aerospace, defense, and security company that produces products primarily used by the United Kingdom and the United States. By revenue, they are easily one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world, and last year they took in $25.5 billion dollars in revenue and $1.1 billion in sales. They are collaborators for the F-35 Lightning II jet fighter program, the Eurofighter Typhoon program, and the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers. Outside of those projects, BAE Systems also produces a range of warships, nuclear submarines, UAV drones, the M2/M3 Bradley tanks, artillery guns, the M10 Paladin tanks, the Challenger II tanks, and more.
Photo from BAE Systems
Most are probably familiar with Boeing, as they are one of the largest manufacturers of commercial aircraft in the world. Outside of their passenger jets, Boeing is also a major arms manufacturer. Boeing got their start in Seattle back in 1916 and over the course of history have proved themselves to be a tried and trusted name when it comes to military weapons and vehicles. Boeing brought in some $5.44 billion dollars in net income alone last year, and a lot of that money came from defense contracts. It would be lengthy to list all of their military products, but some of their major ones are the AH-64 Apache attach helicopter, the V-22 Osprey, the B-52 Bomber, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, the C-17 Globemaster III, and the F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighter.
Photo from Boeing
1. Lockheed Martin
We conclude our list of the largest arms manufacturers in the world with Lockheed Martin, yet another giant American aerospace, defense, and security company. Lockheed Martin is based in Bethesda, Maryland and is one of the largest defense contractors for the United States military. Lockheed Martin is best known for their aircraft which include the A-10 Thunderbolt, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the C-130J Super Hercules, the F-22 Raptor, the F-35 Lightning II, and the U-2 Dragon Lady. Outside of their extensive portfolio of aircrafts, Lockheed Martin produces a few naval ships, missiles and missile guidance systems, radar and navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, and much more.
Photo from Lockheed Martin