The defense industry is a big global market, generating multi-billion contracts from the federal sector, foreign governments, and international customers. As the United States government is the single largest customer of goods and services, American companies top the list of the largest defense contractors in the world, supplying industry-leading weapons, electronic systems, and data analytics.
How big is the U.S. defense industry?
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The United States government has a budget of over $858 billion for national defense in 2023. Half of the military spending goes to the private sector and largest defense companies, amounting to over $400 billion.
The national defense revenue generated from military contracts has, in turn, driven up the revenue state-wide. In 2021, Alabama’s $12.2 billion defense worth of contracts and Connecticut’s $18.4 billion worth of contracts represented nearly five percent of the states’ economies.
Here are the top ten largest defense contractors in the U.S. in 2022.
1. General Dynamics Corp.
Photo from General Dynamics Official Website
- Revenue: $39.4 billion (Fiscal year 2022)
- Founded: 1952
- Headquarters: Reston, Virginia
General Dynamics Corporation is a global aerospace and defense system company. The company provides innovative products and services for business aviation, shipbuilding repair, and ship maintenance. It also manufactures class-leading missile defense systems, business jets, combat vehicles, communication systems, and more.
Established in 1952, General Dynamics is a top government contractor for defense, winning multi-million arms sales accounted to the U.S. Army up to $9.6 billion in 2021. Heading the company’s growth in the defense industry is Phebe N. Novakovic, who has been serving as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since January 2013.
One of General Dynamics’ recent major projects to date, the company has announced the procurement of a $4.6 billion fixed-price incentive contract for the production of M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams’s main battle tanks for the U.S. Army. The eight-year contract award was estimated for completion by June 2028.
2. L3Harris Corporation
Photo from L3Harris Corporation Official Website
- Revenue: $17.1 billion (FY 2022)
- Founded: 1895
- Headquarters: Melbourne, Florida
L3Harris Corporation was formed upon the merger of L3 Technologies and Harris Corporation in 2019. The merger of two of the largest defense contractors expanded the company’s domain capabilities in air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace and federal contracting activities for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and other government agencies.
L3Harris Corporation provides the U.S. government with surveillance, electronic warfare, information technology services, and communications equipment. The company serves defense and commercial customers across over 100 countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the UAE, and the U.K.
3. Huntington Ingalls Industries
Photo from Huntington Ingalls Industries Official Website
- Revenue: $10.7 billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 1886 (Spin-off in 2011)
- Headquarters: Newport News, Virginia
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is the largest shipbuilding contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense. The company manufactures over 70% of the Navy’s marine fleet and naval electronics and is the sole manufacturer of nuclear technology aircraft.
While HII’s defense contracts primarily consist of the development and modernization of Naval ships, such as the Columbia-class submarines and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, the company also takes on various works for the military, including the nuclear clean-up waste at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Since its spin-off at Northrop Grumman Corp. in 2011, HII has secured numerous contracts with federal agencies. In 2021, the shipbuilding firm received a $3 billion contract to refuel and overhaul the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). The company was tasked to support the second half of the ship’s 50-year service in the Navy.
4. Oshkosh Corp.
Photo from Oshkosh Corporation Official Website
- Revenue: $8.28 billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 1917
- Headquarters: Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Oshkosh Corporation is one of the largest military contractors for specialty vehicles, truck bodies, fire control apparatus, and access equipment. The company employs over 15,000 team members across 130 facilities in 24 countries.
Oshkosh Corp. owns various brands specializing in designing and manufacturing mission systems and defense products. These are Oshkosh Defense, JLG, Pierce, McNeilus, Jerr-Dan, Oshkosh Airport Products, Pratt Miller, Frontline Communications, London Machinery Inc., and IMT.
As the President and Chief Executive Officer, John C. Pfeifer has been responsible for the government contracting activities of Oshkosh Corp. One of his earliest government contracts under his leadership was managing the$11 billion IDIQ contract to modernize the trucks of the U.S. Postal Service.
5. Raytheon Technologies Corporation
Photo from Raytheon Technologies Official Website
- Revenue: $67.1 billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 1922 (Merger in 2020)
- Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia
Raytheon Technologies Corp. quickly became a prime contractor upon the merger of Raytheon Company and United Technologies Corporation in 2020. The company owns four major subsidiaries: Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Collins Aerospace, and Pratt & Whitney.
Under the leadership of Gregory J. Hayes as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Raytheon Technologies became the second-largest military contractor for commercial airplanes, aircraft carriers, military aircraft, weapons systems, and other defense products.
Raytheon Technologies Corp. secures various government contracts with the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and other defense agencies. In 2022, the company received an $866.6 million agreement to produce and assemble the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA All-Up Rounds for the U.S. government and foreign military sales.
6. BAE Systems, Inc.
Photo from BAE Systems, Inc. Official Website
- Revenue: $26.8 billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 1999
- Headquarters: Falls Church, Virginia
BAE Systems, Inc. secures prime contracts with the government to boost national security, maintain critical infrastructure, and modernize defense technologies. The company is the American subsidiary of a London-based parent organization, BAE Systems, plc.
Employing over 86,000 team members across 40 countries, BAE Systems, Inc. works with local partners, sharing knowledge, skills, and expertise for growth in the defense market. Tom Arseneault heads the company as the President and Chief Executive Officer, whose main goal is to increase the total sales and profit of the company.
In 2022, BAE Systems, Inc. won a $12 billion contract from the Department of Defense to facilitate tests, support, systems engineering, and other related works for the Air Force’s Minuteman III and Sentinel Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) inventory.
7. Lockheed Martin Corporation
Photo from Lockheed Martin Official Website
- Revenue: $66 billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 1912
- Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland
Lockheed Martin Corp. is a global defense and security company operating across four business areas: Aeronautics, Missiles and Fire Control, Rotary and Mission Systems, and Space. The company develops some of the most crucial weapons, missile systems, commercial aircraft, and more.
As a top defense contractor and manufacturer of military equipment, sonar technologies, and fighter jets, the vast majority of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue comes from its government contracting business with the defense markets. The company is best known for producing F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22, F-35 fighter jets, and C-130 Hercules.
Lockheed Martin is led by James D. Taiclet as the Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer since June 2020. He played a crucial role in securing and managing the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, one of the most expensive contracts finalized by the U.S. Department of Defense worth $250 billion.
8. The Boeing Company
Photo from The Boeing Company Official Website
- Revenue: $66.6 billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 1916
- Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia
While it’s best known as a manufacturer of commercial airplanes, most of Boeing‘s revenue comes from its government contracting business. The company is also one of the largest manufacturing exporters in the aviation industry, serving the U.S. government and 150 foreign government customers.
Some of Boeing’s most important products include commercial jetliners, defense products, and security technology services. These products are manufactured through four main business areas: Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Boeing Global Services, and Boeing Capital. Roxanne Wood leads Boeing Intelligence and Analytics as the Chief Executive Officer and President.
In 2022, Boeing secured the prime contractor position for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) System. Under the$5.02 billion agreement, the company was tasked with system integration, test, and readiness (SITR) against potential ballistic missile attacks.
9. Northrop Grumman Corporation
Photo from Northrop Grumman Official Website
- Revenue: $36.6 billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 1930 (Merger in 1994)
- Headquarters: Falls Church, Virginia
Northrop Grumman manufactures advanced weapon systems to address the federal government’s most challenging issues in space, aeronautics, cyberspace, and defense. It’s a pioneering company with multi-domain capabilities in air, land, space, and more.
Northrop Grumman Corp. is the pioneer innovator of the Flying Wing concept, also known as the aircraft without a tail or fixed fuel usage. Other products developed by the company include -2 stealth bombers, X-47B aircraft, and the Lunar module for the U.S. government and over 25 foreign governments worldwide.
Chair, President, and Chief Executive Officer Kathy J. Warden has been in the lead in securing various government contracts from the DoD and the Intelligence Community. Under her leadership, the company secured a potential$3.29 billion contract for Ground-based Midcourse Defense Weapon System (GWS) Development.
Photo from SAIC Official Website
- Revenue: $ 7.4billion (FY 2022)
- Established: 2013
- Headquarters: Reston, Virginia
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is a technology company providing engineering, scientific, and technical services to the federal government and global clients. The company has over 25,000 employees in 29 offices across the United States.
SAIC operates diverse businesses in different market subsets, such as environment, security, energy, health, infrastructure, data operations, technology landscape, and artificial intelligence. Under the leadership of Nazzic Keene as the Chief Executive Officer, the company achieved a $7.4 billion enterprise since its spin-off in 2013.
SAIC is a trusted government contractor with the DoD, federal civilian agencies, and healthcare sectors of the government. The company won a 4-year contract with a total contract value of $4.4 billion to support the U.S. Army’s S3I Directorate (Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering, and Integration) and Development Command, Aviation & Missile Center (DEVCOM AvMC).