Smedley Butler, a highly decorated Marine Corps major general, once famously stated, "War is a racket. It always has been... It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." These words continue to resonate, shedding light on the stark reality of the global defense industry. In 2022, the defense sector thrived, with top companies reaping unprecedented financial gains. Let's delve into the numbers and highlight some key players on the international stage.
The Top 25 Defense Companies by 2022 Revenues
The defense industry is a massive global enterprise, with billions of dollars at stake. In 2022, the top 25 defense companies by revenue stood as follows:
- Lockheed Martin (USA): $633 billion - Known for advanced fighter jets and collaboration with NASA.
- RTX Corp (formerly Raytheon Technologies, USA): $396 billion - Produces military equipment including the Javelin missile system.
- Northrop Grumman (USA): $324 billion - Known for developing the B-2 stealth bomber.
- Aviation Industry Corporation of China (China): $310 billion - China's largest aerospace and defense company, ranking in the Fortune Global 500.
- Boeing (USA): $308 billion - Known for its contributions to the aviation and defense industries.
- General Dynamics (USA): $304 billion - A key player in various defense-related endeavors.
- BAE Systems (UK): $252 billion - A significant contributor to the UK's defense capabilities.
- China North Industries Group (China): $180 billion - Known for its contributions to China's defense industry.
- L3Harris Technologies (USA): $139 billion - Renowned for its advanced technologies.
- China South Industries Group (China): $135 billion - Produces military vehicles, ammunition, and owns Changan Automobile.
- Leonardo (Italy): $129 billion - Active in various defense-related ventures.
- Airbus (Netherlands/France): $120 billion - A major producer of both commercial airliners and military technology.
- Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII, USA): $106 billion - A significant player in naval shipbuilding.
- Thales (France): $96 billion - Known for its contributions to the defense sector.
- China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (China): $96 billion - Engaged in various defense-related activities.
- Leidos (USA): $95 billion - A key player in the defense industry.
- Amentum (USA): $60 billion - Active in various defense-related endeavors.
- Booz Allen Hamilton (USA): $59 billion - A significant contributor to defense-related efforts.
- Rheinmetall AG (Germany): $51 billion - Known for its contributions to the defense industry.
- Dassault Aviation (France): $50 billion - Renowned for its advanced aviation technologies.
- Elbit Systems (Israel): $50 billion - Active in various defense-related endeavors.
- Rolls-Royce (UK): $49 billion - A key supplier of aircraft and naval engines and nuclear propulsion systems for submarines.
- Honeywell (USA): $46 billion - Engaged in various defense-related activities.
- Naval Group (France): $46 billion - Known for its contributions to naval defense.
- General Electric (USA): $44 billion - Active in various defense-related endeavors.
The Global Landscape
Beyond the United States and China, the global defense industry features a diverse range of companies. For instance, Italy's Leonardo reported $129 billion in revenue, with 83% coming from defense, while the combined efforts of the Netherlands and France through Airbus generated $120 billion, with 20% from defense-related activities.
In the United Kingdom, Rolls-Royce plays a pivotal role with 31% of its total revenue being defense-related. It is a key supplier of aircraft and naval engines and designs nuclear propulsion systems for the UK's submarine fleet.
The United States continues to be a powerhouse in the global defense sector, home to several major players:
- Lockheed Martin: This industry giant is known for its advanced fighter jets and collaborations with NASA.
- RTX Corp (formerly Raytheon Technologies): Produces military equipment, including the Javelin missile system.
- Northrop Grumman: Distinguished for developing the B-2 stealth bomber.
- HII: With 100% of its revenue linked to defense, Huntington Ingalls Industries is a significant player in naval shipbuilding.
China's top defense companies are state-owned enterprises, with significant international impact:
- AVIC: China's largest aerospace and defense company, ranking in the Fortune Global 500.
- CNIG: Known for doing business internationally, CNIG was once sanctioned for allegedly supplying Iran with missile technologies.
- CSIG: Produces military vehicles, ammunitions, and owns Changan Automobile.
These statistics and country highlights reveal the complex web of financial interests in the global defense industry. As Smedley Butler's words continue to echo, it is clear that war remains a profitable venture for many, and the costs are counted in both dollars and lives.