Top 10 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 and that is that war is good for business and weapons 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 $402 billion of arms in 2013, proving that war can be indeed profitable for companies in the industry.

A list of the 10 largest weapons manufacturers in the world

10. Thales

Revenue (2014): $10.37 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 that is reported to be the fastest short-range anti-air missile in use.

9. Finmeccanica

Revenue (2014): $10.56 billion
Country of Origin: Italy

Finmeccanica is the largest Italian arms manufacturer and is famous for building AgustaWestland helicopters and supplying the Italian army with the modern Ariete battle tank. The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finances is its largest shareholder with a 32.45% stake.

8. United Technologies Corporation

Revenue (2014): $11.9 billion
Country of Origin: USA

UTC has established itself as a major player in both the civilian and military markets, whose products range from aircrafts and helicopters to elevators and escalators. The company is best-known for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, featured in the 2001 film Black Hawk Down. UTC components are currently used in fighters, bombers and trainers of 27 militaries around the world.

7. EADS/Airbus Group

Revenue (2014): $15.7 billion
Country of Origin: N/A

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 (2014): $18.66 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 weapon is the M1 Abrams tank, a third-generation battle tank that is the primary tank of the US Army and Marine Corps.

5. Northrop Grumman

Revenue (2014): $20.22 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 U.S. weapons manufacturers.

4. Raytheon

Revenue (2014): $21.95 billion
Country of Origin: USA

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

3. BAE Systems

Revenue (2014): $26.82 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 U.S. Department of Defense, and defines its “home markets” to be Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, the U.K. BAE Systems is a major producer of parts for the Eurofighter Typhoon as well as the F-35 Lightning II.

2. Boeing

Revenue (2014): $30.7 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 aircrafts, 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 (2014): $45.6 billion
Country of Origin: USA

As the largest weapons manufacturer in the world, Lockheed Martin employs 116,000 people worldwide and receives nearly 10% of the Pentagon’s funds as the largest U.S. government contractor. It is notable for unparalleled fighter aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules, C-5 Galaxy, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and the fifth generation F-35 Lightening 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.

To view the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s report, click here.