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World’s 10 Largest Defense Companies

Forbes SIPRI07.01.2020 North America
World’s 10 Largest Defense Companies

World’s 10 Largest Defense Companies

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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently released its latest overview of the world’s largest arms-producing and military services companies, finding that their sales increased 4.6% last year. In total, global weapons industry sales reached $420 billion, a figure that’s 47% higher than in 2002.

The study excluded Chinese arms manufacturers due to a lack of data to make a reliable estimate. It found that as in previous years, American companies dominated the top-100 list, with sales by all U.S. companies amounting to $246 billion or 59% of total global arms sales.

The five biggest U.S. companies - Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics - raked in $148 billion and accounted for 35% of total sales, a 7.2% increase on 2017.

2018 was the first year since 2002 that the top-five spots in the ranking were exclusively held by U.S. companies. Lockheed Martin was in first place with its sales totaling $47.26 billion while Boeing and Raytheon had the second and third-highest figures on the list with $29.15 billion and $26.19 billion respectively.

Non-U.S. companies making the top-10 included BAE Systems with $21.21 billion, Airbus with $11.65 billion, Leonardo with $9.82 billion, Almaz-Antey with $9.64 billion and Thales with $9.47 billion.

Russian companies’ arms sales remained stable with $36.2 billion, a modest 0.4% decrease on 2017. Almaz-Antey remains Russia’s largest arms producer and it accounted for 27% of the country’s total sales last year.

Elsewhere, the combined sales of the 27 European countries in the ranking increased marginally to $102 billion. The UK experienced a 4.8% decrease, though BAE Systems remained the world’s largest arms producer outside the United States.

The combined arms sales of French companies were the second highest in Europe at $23.2 billion while German companies saw their sales fall 3.8%. 


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