The shipbuilding industry plays a crucial role in the economy, regional development, and national security, particularly by constructing warships. Warships serve multiple military purposes, including deterring enemy attacks and safeguarding the logistics and transportation of military forces by sea.
Below is a list of five prominent government military shipbuilders in no particular order. The selection is based on market capitalization, revenue, and industry impact. It’s worth noting that many other reputable companies in the shipbuilding sector offer excellent products and services. For further information about the shipbuilding industry, please refer to the FAQs section below.
Here are five military shipbuilding companies serving the government industry:
General Dynamics NASSCO
- FY 2022 Revenue: $39.4 Billion
- Headquarters: San Diego, California
General Dynamics NASSCO is a prominent shipbuilding manufacturer operating as part of the General Dynamics Marine Systems division. As a market leader, General Dynamics consistently delivers innovative solutions that cater to the needs of government, military, and private sector clients.
NASSCO, established in 1960, specializes in new ship construction for the defense sector of the US government. Over the years, the company has successfully designed and constructed more than 70 large-scale ships, including combat logistics support ships, destroyer tenders, hospital ships, amphibious ships, and various other support ships for the US Navy. NASSCO’s extensive experience and expertise have made them a trusted provider of high-quality vessels for critical military operations.
General Dynamic NASSCO is a major provider of repair services for the U.S. Navy and a renowned leader in the design and construction of Navy and commercial ships.
In May 2023, General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded a significant modification contract worth $736 million. This contract involves the construction of the ninth ship, T-AO 213, as part of the John Lewis-class fleet oiler program. These fleet replenishment oilers, known as T-AO vessels, are highly adaptable and mission-oriented platforms that are crucial in supporting maritime security and ensuring effective sea control. This contract highlights General Dynamics NASSCO’s continued contribution to developing and advancing essential naval assets.
- FY 2022 Revenue: $10.7 Billion
- Headquarters: Newport News, Virginia
Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, Huntington Ingalls Industries Corporate (HII) is a prominent military shipbuilding and technology company. With a remarkable history spanning 135 years, HII has been a steadfast supplier of advanced defense systems to the US military.
One of HII’s notable divisions is HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding, which stands as the largest shipbuilding manufacturer, employing over 11,000 skilled professionals. For more than 85 years, Ingalls has been at the forefront of delivering state-of-the-art ship design, construction, and maintenance services to the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard.
In 2011, HII acquired Newport News Shipbuilding from Northrop Grumman, further bolstering its shipbuilding capabilities. Newport News Shipbuilding currently holds the distinction of being the largest private shipbuilder in the United States. Its expertise is particularly recognized for the construction of Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
HII is also known as a worldwide provider of engineering services and military technologies. The company aims to help its clients to protect peace and freedom worldwide.
In March 2023, HII announced its new LPD 32 $1.3 billion contract from the US Navy. Amphibious warfare ships called landing platform docks (LPD) embark, transport, and land landing force elements during expeditionary warfare missions. The modification contract with HII will provide detailed design and construction for LPD 32—the third Flight II LPD.
- FY 2022 Revenue: $65.984 Billion
- Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland
Lockheed Martin is a distinguished global security and aerospace company that was formed through the merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta in 1995. With approximately 114,000 employees globally, the company is dedicated to enhancing national safety and security by providing defense aircraft and machinery.
While Lockheed Martin is widely recognized as a prominent player in the aeronautics industry, it has also made significant contributions to shipbuilding. The company has leveraged its expertise to deliver shipbuilding services for some of the most powerful vessels in the United States Navy. This demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s versatility and commitment to supporting various branches of the armed forces in their defense endeavors.
Lockheed Martin’s collaboration with the Navy on the Aegis Combat System is one of the company’s most notable projects. Originally developed by the RCA’s Missile and Surface Radar Division, Lockheed Martin is now responsible for its production.
In manufacturing the Aegis Combat System, Lockheed Martin produces crucial components such as fire-control systems, radars, and other relevant ship equipment. This advanced system utilizes computers and radars to enable the United States Navy to effectively detect and engage hostile vessels and other maritime targets.
Under an ongoing contract valued at $214.5 million, scheduled for completion by December 2023, Lockheed Martin continues to provide early-start, multinational engineering support for all Aegis-equipped ships operated by existing and future International Partners. This demonstrates the company’s commitment to fostering international collaboration and promoting the operational capabilities of the Aegis Combat System on a global scale.
- FY 2022 Revenue: $36.6 Billion
- Headquarters: Falls Church, Virginia
Northrop Grumman has established itself as the preferred contractor for control systems within the Department of Defense. The company produces cutting-edge aircraft, satellites, cybersecurity systems, and radars. To streamline its operations, Northrop Grumman is organized into six primary business segments: Space, Land, Air, Sea, Cyber, and Advanced Weapons.
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding sets the industry standard for designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced naval systems within the naval sector. The company is committed to equipping ship watch personnel with exceptional situational awareness by providing maritime navigational tools. By ensuring that naval personnel have access to the latest technologies, Northrop Grumman contributes to the effective execution of their duties and the overall operational efficiency of naval forces.
In September 2004, Northrop Grumman successfully constructed the USS New York (LPD 21), an amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class. This ship holds significant symbolic value as it is the sixth vessel in the United States Navy to be named after the city of New York.
The USS New York (LPD 21) supports military operations. As an amphibious transport dock, it has the capability to transport and deploy troops, supplies, equipment, and helicopters. This versatile vessel is vital in enhancing the Navy’s expeditionary and humanitarian missions by facilitating the rapid movement of personnel and resources to various operational areas.
- FY 2022 Revenue: $67.1 Billion
- Headquarters: Arlington County, Virginia
Raytheon Technologies is a leading provider of electronic products and services to the DoD and other federal departments. The company’s roots trace back to its founding in 1922 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Lawrence K. Marshall, Charles G. Smith, and Vannevar Bush, scientists and engineers. Initially, Raytheon focused on cooling systems but transitioned to electronics shortly thereafter, establishing itself as a frontrunner in the field.
In addition to its expertise in developing powerful aircraft and defense systems, Raytheon also has a subsidiary known as Missiles & Defense. Through this subsidiary, the company is actively involved in constructing combat ships. Raytheon leverages its technological capabilities to create advanced naval vessels that contribute to the defense and security requirements of the armed forces.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s Zumwalt-class destroyers are a notable presence in the United States Navy, representing a group of three guided-missile destroyers. These destroyers are characterized by their stealth capabilities and serve as versatile vessels primarily focusing on land attacks.
The Zumwalt-class destroyers excel in multiple roles, including surface warfare, anti-aircraft warfare, and supporting naval weaponry. Their advanced design and capabilities enable them to effectively engage targets on the surface and in the air. Additionally, these destroyers have the capacity to deliver firepower in support of land operations, further enhancing their overall versatility and effectiveness.
Shipbuilding Industry FAQs
The shipbuilding industry encompasses the construction of large sea-going vessels that serve various purposes, including the merchant fleet, offshore energy industry, and military applications. This section will address some frequently asked questions regarding the military shipbuilding sector.
What is Shipbuilding?
Shipbuilding is the intricate process of constructing large vessels that are specifically designed to navigate the seas and oceans. While steel is the predominant material used in shipbuilding, other materials, such as wood and composites, may also be utilized in certain shipbuilding projects. This combination of materials ensures the vessels’ structural integrity, durability, and seaworthiness, enabling them to withstand the demanding conditions encountered at sea.
What is the Largest Military Shipbuilding Contract?
General Dynamics Electric Boat secured the Navy’s most significant shipbuilding contract, valued at $22.2 billion, in 2019. Under this contract, the company is tasked with constructing nine Block V Virginia-class attack submarines for the Navy. Additionally, the contract includes an option to potentially procure a tenth submarine.
What is the World’s Largest Military Ship?
The USS Gerald R. Ford is the world’s newest and most technologically advanced aircraft carrier, serving within the United States Navy. This massive vessel was constructed by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, showcasing its expertise in shipbuilding and naval technology. With impressive dimensions, the USS Gerald R. Ford spans approximately 333 meters in length and stands at a height of 76 meters. Its formidable size accommodates various aircraft and advanced systems, enabling it to fulfill its critical role in projecting power and ensuring national security.