When I hear the word “defense contractor,” I have to admit that brands behind the 10 biggest defense contractors in the world (or even the top 100) didn’t cross my mind. Instead, I am immediately reminded of the hijinks that two twenty-something guys embarked in the movie “War Dogs.” The film, which starred Jonah Hill and Miles Teller, was based on a real-life story of two small-time, intrepid arms dealers that outbid these defense behemoths (that we’re about to rank later) on military contracts for the wars that the US engaged in. An hour into the movie, I was interested about how to become a defense contractor (easily searchable on Google, by the way) and deal my way into a few million dollars, until I saw the ending: the duo was taken down by the authorities over acts of fraud they committed to secure the arms deals.
Well that’s a problem that these 10 companies won’t have, at least not yet. These giants are on the other end of the spectrum in the military industry: they produce cutting-edge weapons and war machines to America’s armed forces, which had about $600 billion in its budget just for 2015. Each of these companies: Airbus Group SE (EPA:AIR), BAE Systems plc (LON:BA), Boeing Co (NYSE:BA), General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), L3 Technologies Inc (NYSE:LLL), Leonardo SpA (BIT:LDO), Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN), and Thales SA (EPA:HO), have earned at least $7 billion in defense-related revenues in 2015. Yes, including the two commercial airplane makers you saw on this list.
The combined defense-related sales of these 10 companies would be equivalent to about a third of the 2015 budget of the US military, or on a more amazing note, 5% of the entire US federal budget for that year. But of course, these companies also have deals with numerous militaries (and perhaps a handful of private armies?) around the world, including the 11 African Countries with the Highest Military Strength, among other countries both rich and poor. In fact, for of these top-grossing defense companies are based in Europe, which is also a powerhouse when it comes to military might.
Insider Monkey has compiled full-year data on the defense-related revenues of each company, along with an estimate of how much of the company’s income is from defense. Which is interesting to know because the list has companies wholly dedicated to military products and services, as well as other companies that treat the defense business as a side racket (and just imagine what the overall revenue is for such companies). All monetary values indicated on this list of the 10 biggest defense contractors in the world are as of the end of 2015.