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Top 20 Defense Contractors in 2024

Defense spending surges globally due to international conflicts, affecting top 20 contractors and causing explosive growth in weapons business.

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Defense Contractors: This article examines the top 20 defense contractors in the world and offers a thorough analysis of global trends in defense spending as well as the astronomical growth in the weapons industry as a result of international conflicts.

Over the past few years, the conflict has shaken the planet. The Russia-Ukraine war is still ongoing and has been for more than 700 days. Since Azerbaijani forces took over Armenian-controlled territory in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in 2020, there has been a continuous exchange of gunfire between the two countries in the Caucasus. Defense specialists characterize the current situation in the Middle East as the worst to hit the region since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. In October of last year, Israel launched an invasion of Gaza following a slew of well-planned strikes by Hamas in various locations within Israel.

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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that 2022 was a record year for defense spending, with global military spending hitting an all-time high of $2.2 trillion. Final statistics for 2023 are still coming. The Americas spent $961 billion, Asia $540 billion, and Europe recorded its highest increase in defense spending in three decades, reaching $480 billion in 2022. Conversely, nations in Africa paid $39 billion and those in the Oceania region paid $35 billion for arms purchases, respectively.

The armaments business has flourished as a result of the need for weapons. Major defense contractors anticipate increased revenue flow as a result of the crisis in Ukraine and Israel’s conflict against Hamas, including Lockheed Martin Corporation, RTX Corporation, and General Dynamics Corporation.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, RTX Corporation has received $3 billion in orders related to resupplying Kyiv. Lockheed Martin Corporation saw a 2% increase in share price in October following the company’s third-quarter results, which exceeded expectations in terms of revenue and earnings. Due to ongoing geopolitical tensions, there was a steady demand for equipment and weaponry, which contributed to the increased financial performance.

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The guided multiple-launch rocket system from Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Javelin anti-tank missiles, which the corporation co-developed with RTX Corporation, have shown to be crucial components of Ukraine’s military operations against Russia.

In addition, General Dynamics Corporation’s combat systems unit—which produces artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles—reported 25% higher sales in its third quarter 2023 earnings than it did in the same period the previous year. The company is already producing 20,000 rounds of artillery every month, up from 14,000 previously.

Due to the anticipation of continued demand for its weaponry, Northrop Grumman Corporation has projected sales of between $40.8 billion and $41.2 billion in 2024. Northrop Grumman Corporation and Global Military Products were given a $522 million contract by the US Army to provide artillery ammunition for Kyiv at the beginning of 2023. Moreover, since Israel declared war on Hamas in October 2023, the company’s shares have increased by more than 6%.

2024’s Top 20 Defense Contractors

Defense Contractors
(Credit: Wholesale electric Asia)

20. Dassault Aviation

Nation: France

Revenues of $6.64 billion in 2022

Defense Income to Reach $5.03 Billion in 2022

76% of Defense Revenue Is Received by the State

Dassault Aviation remains a leading defense contractor globally, even with an 18% decrease in defense revenue from 2021 to 2022. The French business produces multirole fighter jets called Rafale. In 2022, Dassault Aviation’s defense-related sales brought in over $5 billion.

19. Rheinmetall AG

Nation: Germany

Revenues totaled $6.75 billion in 2022.

Defense Income to Reach $5.06 Trillion in 2022

75 percent of defense-related revenue

The biggest defense manufacturer in Germany and the sixth biggest in Europe is Rheinmetall AG. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the price of its stock has more than doubled. The defense revenue of Rheinmetall increased by 6% in 2022 over 2021. Due to its strong financial results, the company was able to enter the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s DAX index in March 2023.

18. Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation

Nation: USA

Revenues totaled $9.26 billion in 2022.

Defense Income to Reach $5.9 Trillion in 2022

64% of Defense Revenue Is From This Source

Thanks to a strong financial showing in 2022, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH) is now ranked among the top 20 defense contractors worldwide. Revenue from the company’s defense division rose by 7% over the prior year. For the US military, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH) develops energy weapons like high-power microwaves, lasers, and other radio frequency technologies.

17. Amentum Services, Inc.

Nation: USA

Total Revenue: $8.6 billion in 2022

$6 billion in defense revenue in 2022

70% of defense revenue comes from this source.

When it comes to defense revenue, Amentum is among the biggest US corporations. It is one of the largest federal service contractors in the US that does not produce equipment. Sales to the US government pertaining to defense accounts for 70% of their total income in 2022.

16. Leidos Holdings, Inc.

Nation: USA

Revenue in total for 2022: $14.4 billion

Defense Income to Reach $9.53 Trillion in 2022

66% of Defense Revenue Is From This Source

On February 14, 2024, Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LDOS) had a market worth of $16.5 billion, making it one of the most valuable military businesses in the United States. The organization creates sophisticated technological solutions to address the demands of health and national security. The US Army awarded Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LDOS) a $7.5 billion deal for IT hardware in September 2023.

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15. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

Nation: China

Total Revenue: $44.93 billion in 2022

Defense Income to Reach $9.61 Billion in 2022

Defense Revenue as a Percentage: 21%

Beijing’s space program is primarily contracted out to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Additionally, the Chinese Army’s ground equipment, launch vehicles, and tactical missile systems are developed by the CASC. The CASC climbed three spots to become the fifteenth largest defense business in the world thanks to a 3% increase in defense revenue between 2021 and 2022.

14. Thales Group

Nation: France

2022 Total Revenue: $18.51 billion

Defense Income to Reach $9.64 Billion in 2022

52% of Defense Revenue Is From This Source

Thales is a multinational French corporation that specializes in producing equipment for the aerospace and defense industries as well as electrical systems. The company’s sales tied to defense accounted for more than half of its revenue in 2022. On February 2, 2024, the UK Ministry of Defense and Thales agreed on a 15-year, £1.8 billion contract to strengthen the Royal Navy’s ships’ resilience.

13. Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.

Nation: USA

In 2022, the total revenue was $10.68 billion.

Defense Income to Reach $10.63 Trillion in 2022

Revenue from Defense as a Percentage: 99%

The biggest shipbuilding company in the US, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HII), is the next company on our list. It presently works on the development of the Columbia-class, which is slated to enter service in 2031, and is one of the contractors for the US Navy’s Virginia-class submarines. Leading the Gerald R. Ford Aircraft Carrier Program, which comprises a $13.3 billion battleship, is Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HII). To learn more about the program, click this link.

12. Airbus SE

Nation: France/Netherlands

In 2022, the total revenue was $61.48 billion.

Defense Income to Reach $12.02 Billion in 2022

20% of defense revenue comes from this source.

The sale of defense-related equipment only makes up around 15% of Airbus’ total revenue, but it still represents a considerable sum of money of more than $12 billion. In 2024, it ranks among the top 20 defense contractors. Airbus was given a $1.5 billion contract by the US Army in May 2022 to supply engineering and logistics support for its fleet of UH-72A and UH-72B Lakota helicopters.

11. Leonardo

Nation: Italy

Revenues totaled $15.5 billion in 2022.

Defense Income to Reach $12.87 Trillion in 2022

83% of Defense Revenue is Come From This Source.

The next company on our list is Leonardo, an Italian aerospace and military firm. In 2022, the company’s defense revenue came to around $13 billion, making up 83% of its total revenues. Leonardo remains a top defense contractor globally, albeit with a 7% decline in revenue from 2021. It is a component of the UK, Japan, and Italy-led Global Combat Air Programme, which aims to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon with a sixth-generation fighter plane.

10. China South Industries Group Corporation

Nation: China

In 2022, the total revenue was $43.47 billion.

Defense Income to Reach $13.48 Billion in 2022

31% of Defense Revenue Is Allowed

The core of China’s national defense technology sector is the state-owned China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC), which has its headquarters in Beijing’s Haidian District. Law enforcement agencies in China utilize the CSGC’s advanced and light munitions, anti-terrorism devices, and information optoelectronics.

9. L3Harris Technologies, Inc.

Nation: USA

In 2022, the total revenue was $17.06 billion.

$13.93 billion will be received for defense in 2022.

82% of Defense Revenue Is From This Source

L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:LHX), which was formed in 2019 as a consequence of the merger of Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies, is among the top military corporations globally in terms of revenue. The company’s primary product offerings include of its C6ISR systems, wireless equipment, and night vision equipment. In December 2022, L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:LHX) announced that it would pay $4.7 billion to purchase Aerojet Rocketdyne, a manufacturer of aerospace propulsion systems.

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8. China North Industries Group Corporation Limited

Nation: China

In 2022, the total revenue was $82.78 billion.

Defense Income to Reach $17.96 Billion in 2022

Defense-related Revenue as a Percentage: 22%

The China North Industries Group Corporation Limited is a manufacturer of tanks, weapons, artillery, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, rockets, missiles, and radars. It is also known internationally as the Norinco Group. It is among the biggest defense firms worldwide. President Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on the Norinco group in June 2020 and forbade American citizens and businesses from owning stock in the business.

7. BAE Systems plc

Nation: United Kingdom

2022 Total Revenue: $26.29 billion

Defense Income to Reach $25.24 Billion in 2022

Defense Revenue as a Percentage: 96%

Next on our list is British Armaments and Aerospace Corporation, or BAE Systems plc. In 2022, the corporation brought in over $25 billion from the defense sector, a 2% decrease from the year before. It remains one of the world’s leading defense contractors despite the decline. As of the time this article was written, its market valuation of $37.62 billion made it the most valuable military firm in the United Kingdom.

6. General Dynamics Corporation

Nation: USA

Revenue in total for 2022: $39.4 billion

Defense Income to Reach $30.4 Billion in 2022

Revenue from Defense as a Percentage: 77%

Listed sixth on our list of the top 20 defense contractors for 2024 is General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD). It is the principal contractor of the Columbia-class project as well as one of the builders of US Navy Virginia-class submarines. In the third quarter of 2023, the combat systems unit, which produces artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles, reported a 25% increase in income.

5. The Boeing Company

Nation: USA

Revenue total for 2022: $66.61 billion

Defense Income to Reach $30.84 Billion in 2022

46 percent of defense-related revenue

First on our list is The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), one of the world’s biggest defense contractors. The US government awarded the company a $925 million contract to work on the US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, which aims to develop a sixth-generation fighter jet to replace the F-22 Raptor by 2030. Defense-related sales accounted for nearly half of the company’s total revenue in 2022.

4. Aviation Industry Corporation of China

Nation: China

Total Income: $82.6 billion in 2022

Defense Income to Reach $30.97 Billion in 2022

37 percent of Defense Department Revenue

One of the biggest defense contractors in China is the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). With more than a hundred subsidiaries, it is a state-owned enterprise. The J-20 fighter jet, which is presently among the most sophisticated in the world, is a product of the AVIC’s development. In collaboration with Pakistan, it has also manufactured the highly acclaimed JF-17 Thunder fighter jet jointly.

3. Northrop Grumman Corporation

Nation: USA

Revenues of $36.6 billion in 2022

The defense budget for 2022 is $32.44 billion.

Defense Revenue as a Percentage: 89%

Revenue for Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) increased by 3% in 2022 over 2021. It is one of the world’s leading defense contractors and the company that makes the B-21 Raider strategic bomber. According to the Fortune 500 ranking, the company is ranked 113th.

2. RTX Corporation

Nation: USA

Revenues totaled $67.1 billion in 2022.

Defense Income to Reach $39.6 Billion in 2022

59% of Defense Sector Revenue

The US Department of Defense awarded contracts totaling more than $25 billion to RTX Corporation (NYSE:RTX) in 2022. Even though defense spending makes up only 59% of the company’s total sales, it is the second-largest in the world when it comes to defense revenue. The business has been crucial in allowing the US to arm Ukraine with vital weaponry to reverse the tide against Russia in the continuing conflict.

1. Lockheed Martin Corporation

Nation: USA

In 2022, the total revenue was $65.98 billion.

The defense budget for 2022 is $63.33 billion.

Defense Revenue as a Percentage: 96%

Global defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) is the biggest. The US Department of Defense placed orders worth over $45 billion with it in 2022; these orders made up around 70% of its total revenue for that year. The company produces the F-35 fifth-generation fighter jet, which is among the most sophisticated and advanced aircraft in use today and is expected to remain a mainstay of the US Air Force for some time to come.

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