Top Ten Largest Weapons Manufacturing Companies in the World

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Clark [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1879, General William Sherman of the American Civil War Union Army uttered the immortal words, “War is hell.” However true that may be, one thing is clear: war is good for business, and weapons are amongst the most lucrative products known to man.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the top 100 weapons manufacturers in the world sold a combined $374.8 in arms in 2016, proving that war can be indeed profitable for companies in the industry.

We have compiled a list of the 10 largest weapons manufacturers in the world by 2016 revenue.

10. Thales

Revenue: $8.17 billion

Country of Origin: France

Paris-based Thales has been contracted to supply the British Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers with advanced radar and fire control in addition to keeping French ships up-to-date. The company continues to develop and sell the Starstreak missile, reported to be the fastest short-range anti-air missile in use.

9. Leonardo

Revenue: $8.5 billion

Country of Origin: Italy

Formally Finmeccanica, the company updated its name after 68 years as Italy’s largest arms manufacturer. Famous for building AgustaWestland helicopters and supplying the Italian army with the modern Ariete battle tank, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finances is Leonardo’s largest shareholder, with a 30.2 per cent stake.

8. L-3 Technologies

Revenue: $8.89 billion

Country of Origin: USA

Founded in 1996, L-3 Technologies is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance networks for military, homeland security and commercial aviation customers. The company’s 31,000 employees are involved with the development of advanced defence technologies and commercial solutions in pilot training, aviation security and night vision, in addition to maritime and aerospace weapons systems.

7. EADS/Airbus Group

Revenue: $12.52 billion

Country of Origin: Trans-European

The Airbus Group was a primary partner in the development of the Eurofighter Typhoon, which has been adopted into the air forces of several European nations. Another notable product of the Airbus Group is the Eurocopter Tiger, an attack helicopter used in combat in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.

6. General Dynamics

Revenue: $19.23 billion

Country of Origin: USA

From computer systems and displays, Stinger missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles, General Dynamics provides a large portion of the world’s weaponry. One of the company’s best-known weapons is the M1 Abrams tank, a third-generation battle tank. The M1 Abrams is the primary tank of the US Army and Marine Corps.

5. Northrop Grumman

Revenue: $21.4 billion

Country of Origin: USA

Formed after the merger between Northrop and Grumman, Northrop Grumman is best known for its B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, which can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons in stealth configuration. Northrop recently hired Jaime Bohnke, who previously worked with both Boeing and Raytheon, in order to better compete with rival US weapons manufacturers.

4. BAE Systems

Revenue: $22.79 billion

Country of Origin: U.K.

Formed by the £7.7 billion merger of two British companies, BAE Systems is one of the largest suppliers to the US Department of Defense. Its “home markets” are Australia, India, Saudi Arabia and the UK. BAE Systems is a major producer of parts for the Eurofighter Typhoon as well as the F-35 Lightning II.

3. Raytheon

Revenue: $22.95 billion

Country of Origin: USA

The Massachusetts-based defence giant is best known as the largest manufacturer of guided missiles worldwide. The company is also famous for the Patriot surface-to-air missile system, one of the primary missile defence shields for US allies around the world. The Patriot missiles come at a cost of $2-3 million per unit.

2. Boeing

Revenue: $29.51 billion

Country of Origin: USA

Though Boeing is best known as a manufacturer of commercial jetliners such as the 747, 777 and 787, it is also a major supplier of refuelling and anti-submarine aircraft, fighter jets and electronic warfare planes. It is best known for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and the F-18 Super Hornet.

1. Lockheed Martin

Revenue: $40.83 billion

Country of Origin: USA

As the largest weapons manufacturer in the world, Lockheed Martin employs 97,000 people worldwide and receives nearly 70 per cent of its sales from the US government. It is notable for unparalleled fighter aircrafts such as the C-130 Hercules, C-5 Galaxy, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor and the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

Additionally, it manufactures the Aegis combat system, which uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. It is also the producer of advanced ballistic missile defence shields such as the PAC-3 and THAAD systems.