15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (2024)

In this article we are going to list the 15 largest defence companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 largest defence companies in the world.

The defence industry is perhaps one of the biggest industries in the world, and is expected to be worth more than $1,600 billion by 2025. Surprisingly, the defence industry is not a very old industry; as an industry, you can track its inception to post World War II. During WWII and even before, manufacturers of cars or buses had to convert their factories into producing arms and ammunition to ensure the steady supply of weapons and defence material to ensure the superiority of their nation in any conflict. However, once the war ended, these countries started organizing their own defence industries, ensuring that they would not have to rely on the conversion of existing industries for their defense supply.

It was the Cold War and the impending threat of a major attack at any point that ensured the defence industry flourished and became quite sizable, with various defence companies growing signifcantly in size. However, once the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall fell, the human race became much more peaceful and defence spending actually decreased by a third from 1989 to 1996. Rather than stock up on traditional bulky weapons, money was instead focused on innovation and the development of new arsenal with joint ventures and mergers becoming very common amongst defence companies to pony up the capital required for such a capital intensive industry. In fact, many of the companies who were in the top 100 in 1990 entirely left the industry by the start of the 21st century, and mergers helped the remaining companies grow in size and stature, ready to combat any threat, though most wars by this period were fought regionally.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (1)

Copyright: scanrail / 123RF Stock Photo

Enter 9/11. If there was a single incident which has completely changed the outlook of nations across the world, then the first thing that comes to mind is 9/11, where terrorists hijacked four planes, destroying the Twin Towers and damaged the Pentagon while a fourth plane crashed into a field after passengers fought back, killing all on board. When all was said and done, 2,977 people had died, tens of thousands more suffered injuries, many of which were long lasting and causes over $10 billion in damages. This is still the worst terrorist attack in history and shifted the focus from nations fighting to fighting terrorists, and resulted in the US launching the War on Terror, which in turn has seen the collective displacement of around 37 million people in total, and has caused more deaths of civilians in other countries than terrorists.

Of course, that is not to say that all countries live harmoniously and peacefully now, and many regional conflicts are still ongoing. After all, Pakistan and India, bitter rivals since their separation nearly went to war in 2019 when Indian jets invaded Pakistani airspace and at least one was shot down and the pilot captured by Pakistan. Tensions between North Korea and South Korea remain extremely high, while the Middle East, and Israel's relations with Arab countries, remain a source of uncertainty even after historic peace agreements with UAE and Bahrain. Because of these conflicts, many countries spend a lot on their defence, with America leading the charge as the most powerful military by far in the entire world, more of which you can learn about in the 10 most powerful militaries in the world in 2020. The US alone spends more on defence than the remaining top 10 combined.

The top defence companies in the world have a combined revenue in 2019 exceeding $319 billion, registering a strong 6% growth over 2018. As we mentioned earlier, the US spends a lot more in defence than any other country in the world, which is why the entire top 5 is dominated by American companies, and the top 15 has 6 American countries, and China is the second highest defence spending company in the world, and hence, logic dictates it hold the second highest number of companies in this list, and that logic does hold true, with 4 Chinese companies present in the list. The remaining companies are from Europe. Most of the companies in the list have revenues from other sources apart from defence too, though to ensure that our list is accurate, we have only compared revenues from defence for these companies. To come up with our rankings, we have considered their revenue for 2019 and 2018 as well, though we have assigned 70% weightage to the former as it is the most recent and hence, most relevant number. So without further ado, let's take a look at the companies spending the most on defence, thereby helping their country's offense, starting with number 15:

15. China South Industries Group Corporation

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 10,149

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 10,276

Founded 21 years ago in 1999, China South Industries Group Corporation engages in the production of firearms, artillery, radar, combat vehicles and commercial vehicles, and employs over 172,000.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (2)


14. China Electronics Technology Group

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 10,149

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 10,276

The China Electronics Technology Group is one of many Chinese state owned giants, which are biggest than most countries. The company employs nearly 180,000 people and is engaged in several fields including computers, electronic equipment, communication equipment, research services and has applications for both the civilian and the military sector.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (3)


13. China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 11,019

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 9,795

Select any industry and search for the largest companies in the world for that industry and you will find at least a few unimaginatively named state owned Chinese giants, and the defence industry holds true to this personal observation. China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation was found 21 years ago in 1999, and is headquartered in Beijing and its main involvement in the defence industry pertains to the building of warships for the nation.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (4)

Maxim Tupikov/Shutterstock.com

12. Leonardo (BIT:LDO)

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 11,109

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 9,829

Leonardo is an Italian company which specialized in defence, security and aerospace. It is one of the biggest aerospace companies in the world and its revenue from the defence sector alone topped $11 billion in 2019. It was found 72 years ago in 1948, and has close to 47,000 employees.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (5)


11. Airbus (Euronext Paris: AIR)

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 11,266

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 13,063

In terms of total revenue, Airbus is the biggest aerospace company in the entire world, dethroning Boeing when Boeing saw a decrease of $25 billion in revenue while the revenue of Airbus increased at the same time. However, Airbus mainly focuses on commercial aircraft and that's why a large part of its revenue is derived from making aircraft for commercial airlines. However, it does have important defence contracts as well, even though it is one of the few defence companies in the list whose revenue decreased in 2019.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (6)

Pixabay/Public Domain

10. China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 12,035

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 12,130

Please read above for what we said about Chinese state owned companies, and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation simply lends credence to my earlier statement. The company is involved in the design, manufacture, and development of a variety of products many of which are for the military, such as strategic and tactile missile systems and ground equipment, while also being involved in the national space exploration program.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (7)


9. L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX)

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 13,917

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 12,303

L3Harris is another American aerospace giant and like most aerospace giants in the country, has extensive military involvement as well, involved in the creation of tactical radios, C6ISSR systems, wireless equipment, electronic systems and avionics. It was only formed in 2019 after the merger of L3 Technologies and Harris Corporation, and has 50,000 employees in over 400 locations.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (8)

Pixabay/Public Domain

8. China North Industries Group Corporation Limited

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 14,771

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 14,777

This is a Chinese state owned defence contractor and was founded in 1988, 32 years ago. While it also has a range of civil applications, its fame and revenues are mostly derived from its military products and military defense projects. As you can see, it's revenue has barely changed at all year on year, and even that is enough to ensure that it is considered as one of the largest defence companies in the world.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (9)

Pixabay/Public Domain

7. BAE Systems (LSE:BA)

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 21,033

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 22,477

BAE Systems is a British multinational aerospace, security and defence company, which is considered to be by far the biggest defence contractor in Europe, even though revenues fell to $21 billion in 2019. Its operations aren't limited to just the UK, it is also one of the biggest suppliers to the US Department of Defence, and is involved in several major projects such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Astute Class submarine.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (10)

Pixabay/Public Domain

6. Aviation Industry Corporation of China

Total revenue in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 25,075

Total revenue in 2018 (in billions of dollars): 24,902

Another Chinese state owned defence and aerospace company, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China is the largest defence company in China with over $25 billion in revenue in 2019. The company employs half a million people across the world and has over 100 subsidiaries with 27 listed companies. It's total revenue was $65 billion of which $25 billion was attributable to defence and like most state owned Chinese giants, was founded in the 1990s, 1993 to be more specific.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (11)

Pixabay/Public Domain Click to continue reading and see the 5 largest defence companies in the world.Disclosure: No positions. 15 Largest Defence Companies in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.

15 Largest Defence Companies in the World (2024)


What is the biggest Defence company in the world? ›

China North Industries Group Corp Ltd, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Lockheed Martin Corp, Raytheon Technologies Crop, and The Boeing Co are the top 5 defence companies in the world in 2021 by revenue.

Which is the best Defence company in the world? ›

Defense Industry Social Media
1Lockheed Martin (U.S.)Links: 3,362; Traffic Rank: 51,099
2Boeing (U.S.)Links: 6,200; Traffic Rank: 18,546
3Northrop Grumman (U.S.)Links: 2,059; Traffic Rank: 58,497
4Raytheon Company (U.S.)Links: 2,478; Traffic Rank: 51,685
96 more rows

What are the largest defense companies in the US? ›

List of companies
RankCountryCompany name
1United StatesLockheed Martin
2United StatesRaytheon Technologies
3United StatesBoeing
4United StatesNorthrop Grumman
46 more rows

Who builds missiles for US military? ›

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is one of four Lockheed Martin business areas. MFC is a recognized designer, developer and manufacturer of precision engagement aerospace and defense systems for the U.S. and allied militaries.

Who is the largest US defense contractor? ›

Lockheed Martin

Who has the best army technology in the world? ›

15 Most Advanced Countries in Military Technology
  • State of Israel. Total Military Aircraft Fleet Strength as of 2022: 597. ...
  • Hellenic Republic. Total Military Aircraft Fleet Strength as of 2022: 633. ...
  • Federative Republic of Brazil. ...
  • Taiwan. ...
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) ...
  • Republic of India. ...
  • Italian Republic. ...
  • Republic of Türkiye.
Dec 17, 2022

Which country has the powerful Defence system? ›

The United States

Furthermore, the US has a large and well-trained human force, the most aircraft in the world, cutting-edge technology such as the Navy's new rail gun, and, of course, the world's largest nuclear arsenal.

Who supplies the US Army with weapons? ›

In 2021, Lockheed Martin was the world's largest arms-producing and military services company, with arms sales amounting to over 60 billion U.S. dollars. Arms sales constituted almost 90 percent of total company sales in that year. Raytheon and Boeing followed on the places behind.

What are the major defense companies? ›

Top Defense Contractors with the Highest Revenue
  • Lockheed Martin. Lockheed is not surprising, especially since their 2021 defense revenue was 64,458,000. ...
  • Raytheon. ...
  • Boeing. ...
  • Northrop Grumman. ...
  • General Dynamics. ...
  • BAE Systems. ...
  • L3 Harris. ...
  • Huntington Ingalls.
Aug 22, 2022

What is the largest weapon company? ›

Raytheon's arms sales grew by nine percent to $42 billion, putting it behind only Lockheed Martin with $60 billion. As a glance at this infographic reveals, U.S. companies dominate the top of the list.

Who builds us Javelin missiles? ›

Javelin is developed and produced by the Javelin Joint Venture, a partnership of Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Lockheed Martin. The versatile shoulder-fired and platform-employed guided missile system offers fire-and-forget capability over its full range – up to 4 kilometers.

Which country produces the best weapons? ›

Market share of the leading exporters of major weapons between 2017 and 2021, by country
CharacteristicShare of international arms exports
United States39%
9 more rows
Aug 5, 2022

Who makes US Patriot missiles? ›

The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary such system used by the United States Army and several allied states. It is manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system.

How big is the US defense industry? ›

US Aerospace & Defense Market Trends

For FY 2022, the Department of Defense's (DoD) budget authority is approximately USD 722 billion, an increase of USD 17 billion from USD 705 billion in 2020, while the FY 2023 President's budget request was USD 773 billion for the DoD.

What company has the biggest military contract? ›

Lockheed Martin

What are the best defense stocks to buy? ›

Top defense stocks to buy in 2023
CompanyDefense Focus
Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)Aviation, space, and missiles
Boeing (NYSE:BA)Aircraft, space, and helicopters
Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC)Nuclear efforts, bombers, space
General Dynamics (NYSE:GD)Shipbuilding, defense IT, tanks
2 more rows

Who is the largest employer in the United States military? ›

The Department of Defense is the largest employer in the U.S. with 1.3 million active-duty military personnel and over 800,000 in reserves. These jobs are distributed across 4,500 military installations, facilities and other locations throughout the continental U.S. and the rest of the world.

What are the 4 largest Defense industry contractors in the US by market capital? ›

Largest defense contractors by market cap
#NameM. Cap
1Raytheon Technologies 1RTX$144.83 B
2Honeywell 2HON$127.95 B
3Lockheed Martin 3LMT$122.06 B
4Northrop Grumman 4NOC$71.97 B
22 more rows

What is the largest privately owned defense contractor? ›

Like Findlay and most other successful micros, Tupelo leans heavily on growth by its established businesses, including San Diego-based General Atomics, the nation's largest privately-owned defense contractor.

Which US army is the strongest? ›

With nearly 1.5 million soldiers and a budget of 700 billion dollars, the US army is the most powerful military force in the world.

What is the hardest military training in the world? ›

U.S. Marines

Of course, when you reach the top, you can find them becoming SEALs or a part of the Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), but the training of any Marine is some of the hardest military training in the world. Even outside of Special Forces, Marines have to be ready for both land and sea combat.

Who is the strongest air force in the world? ›

United States Air Force

As per the reports, by 2021, the United States Air Force (USAF) is comprised of 5217 active aircraft, making it the largest, the most technologically evolved, and the most powerful air fleet in the world.

Does Russia have better military technology than the US? ›

The US dominates the air with far more bases, fighter jets and bombers than Russia but Russia is superior on the ground with more tanks, artillery and land vehicles. At sea, the countries are more evenly matched, but here the US has the edge with more destroyers, submarines and aircraft carriers.

Which country has best missiles? ›

Top 10 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
  • R-36M2 Voyevoda (Russia) ...
  • RS-24 Yars (Russia) ...
  • LGM-30G Minuteman III (USA) ...
  • R-29RMU2.1 Layner (Russia) ...
  • M51 (France) 10 000 km with reduced payload and 8 000 km with full payload.
  • DF-41 (China) 12 000 km.
  • DF-31AG (China) 11 200 km.
  • JL-3 (China) 9 000 to 12 000 km.
Dec 19, 2022

Does the US have a Defence system? ›

To supplement the ground-based interceptors, the US has other ballistic missile defense systems designed to protect smaller areas. One is the Aegis system, which can fire missiles from Navy ships or land-based launchers to target short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Which is the best anti missile Defence system in the world? ›

Multi-Mission C-RAM, V-SHORAD and Naval Area Defense System

RAFAEL's IRON DOME™ is the world's most deployed missile defense system, with more than 2,000 interceptions and a success rate greater than 90%.

What company makes US tanks? ›

The M1 Abrams (/ˈeɪbrəmz/) is a third-generation American main battle tank designed by Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems) and named for General Creighton Abrams. It was officially standardized as TANK, COMBAT, FULL TRACKED, 105MM, M1 ABRAMS (NSN 2350-01-061-2445) on June 15, 1978.

Who sells the most weapons in the world? ›

The combined arms-sales of the top 100 largest arms-producing companies and military services companies (excluding China) totaled $420 billion in 2018, according to SIPRI.
World's largest arms importers.
2020 RankRecipientArms Imp (in million TIV)
2Saudi Arabia2,466
4South Korea1,317
6 more rows

What companies make US tanks? ›

General Dynamics

It serves as the U.S. government's primary supplier of tanks and heavy land vehicles and also owns a number of shipyards where destroyers and nuclear-powered submarines are manufactured.

What are 6 WAR companies? ›

BATTALION. Battalions consist of four to six companies and can include up to about 1,000 soldiers. They can conduct independent operations of limited scope and duration and are usually commanded by a lieutenant colonel.

What companies support the US military? ›

Top Ten Brands by Award Categories
  • #1 USAA.
  • #2 Comcast.
  • #3 Verizon.
  • #4 AT&T.
  • #5 Lowe's Companies.
  • #6 Boeing.
  • #7 Hilton.
  • #8 Regions Bank.

How many companies are in the defense industry? ›

The Defense Industrial Base partnership consists of Department of Defense components, more than 100,000 Defense Industrial Base companies and their subcontractors who perform under contract to the Department of Defense, companies providing incidental materials and services to the Department of Defense, and government- ...

How big is the US weapon industry? ›

Across the United States, 18.8 million firearms were sold in 2021. The U.S. Firearm industry contributes $51.3 billion to the economy. The firearms industry employs 169,523 people across the U.S.

What is the US biggest weapon? ›

B53 nuclear bomb
TypeThermonuclear weapon
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1962–1997
14 more rows

Who is the biggest producer of guns in the world? ›

Biggest Gun Companies In the World
  • AMMO, Inc. ...
  • Springfield Armory, Inc. ...
  • Savage Arms. ...
  • O.F. Mossberg & Sons. ...
  • Colt's Manufacturing Company. 2021 annual revenue: $270.9 million. ...
  • American Outdoor Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:AOUT) ...
  • Heckler and Koch. 2021 annual revenue: €290.2 million. ...
  • Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE:RGR)
Nov 17, 2022

What will replace the Javelin? ›

Lockheed Martin has converted its Javelin missile production to the latest FGM-148F model, Janes revealed, citing company representatives. The FGM-148F is an upgrade on the FGM-148E, featuring a more lethal multi-purpose warhead (MPWH) “against lightly armored targets and personnel,” the outlet wrote.

How fast can the US make Javelin missiles? ›

The United States has been buying Javelins at the rate of about 1,000 a year. The maximum production rate is 6,480 a year, though it would likely take a year or more to reach that level. The delivery time is 32 months; that is, once an order is placed, it will take 32 months before a missile is delivered.

Will US run out of Javelin? ›

Javelin Missiles

The current production rate is about 1,000 a year. Although DOD is working to increase that, it will be many years before the inventory is fully replenished.

Which country is rich in weapons? ›

Military > Weapon holdings: Countries Compared
1United States38.54 million
2China34.28 million
3North Korea17.63 million
4Israel15.98 million
121 more rows

Which country is more advanced in weapons? ›

The United States of America (U.S.A) has the most advanced military technology in the world. The other countries which have the most advanced military technology in the world are Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom (U.K.).

Who makes the best ammunition in the world? ›

Best Ammo Brands
  1. Federal Premium. This company has been around in one form or another since the 1920s. ...
  2. CCI. Cascade Cartridges, Inc has been around since 1951, when the company was founded by Richard Speer and Arvid Nelson. ...
  3. Speer. ...
  4. Sellier & Bellot.

Can Patriot shoot down nuclear missiles? ›

Patriot batteries can project defenses out some 600 miles. While they are far from foolproof, they can target and shoot down long-range ballistic missiles and aircraft from hundreds of miles away.

How many Patriot batteries does USA have? ›

The US Army has 15 Patriot battalions, some of which were deployed to Europe in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 3. What is the US giving Ukraine? The US is planning to transfer a single Patriot battery.

Who makes U.S. cruise missiles? ›

Tomahawk Cruise Missile | Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

Who is Lockheed Martin's biggest competitor? ›

Lockheed's main competitors include Boeing, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, and Raytheon.

Is Lockheed Martin the largest defense contractor in the world? ›

In 2021, the largest Department of Defense contractor was Lockheed Martin, with a contract value of about 40.34 billion U.S. dollars.

Is Raytheon better than Lockheed Martin? ›

Lockheed Martin is most highly rated for Compensation and benefits and Raytheon is most highly rated for Compensation and benefits.
Overall Rating.
Overall Rating4.03.9
Job security and advancement3.53.4
2 more rows

Is Raytheon bigger than Lockheed Martin? ›

Raytheon Technologies, with a market cap of $137 billion, is actually bigger than Lockheed Martin.

What company has the most DoD contracts? ›

In FY 2022, top awardee Lockheed Martin received $45.7 billion in prime contracts or 11.1% of total contract funds awarded by the DoD. Runner-up was Raytheon Technologies with $25.4 billion (6.1%) followed by General Dynamics in third place with $21.2 billion (5.1%).

What are the 4 largest defense industry contractors in the US by market capital? ›

Largest defense contractors by market cap
#NameM. Cap
1Raytheon Technologies 1RTX$144.83 B
2Honeywell 2HON$127.95 B
3Lockheed Martin 3LMT$122.06 B
4Northrop Grumman 4NOC$71.97 B
22 more rows

Who is the world's 8th largest Defence contractor? ›

Top 10 Largest Defense Contractors in the World 2020
RankDefense ContractorsHeadquarters
7L3Harris TechnologiesMelbourne, Florida, USA
8Union AirbusLeiden, Netherlands
9Thales GroupParis, France
10LeonardoRome, Italy
6 more rows
Nov 3, 2020

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