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Ranked: The World’s Top 25 Defense Companies by Revenue

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Top 25 defense companies by revenue

The Top 25 Defense Companies by Revenue

Every year, the world’s most powerful countries spend billions of dollars on defense—but where does this money actually flow?

To gain insight, we’ve ranked the world’s top 25 defense companies by 2022 revenues, using data from Defense News.

Note that our graphic shows each company’s revenues from defense, and not total revenues. This is because many companies such as Boeing also generate revenue from non-defense related industries and sectors.

Data and Country Highlights

The data we used to create this graphic is listed in the table below.

CompanyRevenues from Defense (USD billions)Defense share of total revenue (%)
🇺🇸 Lockheed Martin$63.396%
🇺🇸 RTX Corp (formerly Raytheon Technologies)$39.659%
🇺🇸 Northrop Grumman$32.489%
🇨🇳 Aviation Industry Corporation of China$31.037%
🇺🇸 Boeing$30.846%
🇺🇸 General Dynamics$30.477%
🇬🇧 BAE Systems$25.296%
🇨🇳 China North Industries Group$18.022%
🇺🇸 L3Harris Technologies$13.982%
🇨🇳 China South Industries Group$13.531%
🇮🇹 Leonardo$12.983%
🇳🇱/🇫🇷 Airbus$12.020%
🇺🇸 HII$10.6100%
🇫🇷 Thales$9.652%
🇨🇳 China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation$9.621%
🇺🇸 Leidos$9.566%
🇺🇸 Amentum$6.070%
🇺🇸 Booz Allen Hamilton$5.964%
🇩🇪 Rheinmetall AG$5.175%
🇫🇷 Dassault Aviation$5.076%
🇮🇱 Elbit Systems$5.090%
🇬🇧 Rolls-Royce$4.931%
🇺🇸 Honeywell$4.613%
🇫🇷 Naval Group$4.6100%
🇺🇸 General Electric$4.46%

The U.S. and China are the most represented countries on this list, with 12 and four respective companies in the top 25.

Country Highlights: U.S.

The U.S. consistently has the world’s largest military budget, so it’s no surprise that American companies dominate this ranking. Here are some interesting facts about the top three:

Lockheed Martin

  • Formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta
  • While primarily known for producing advanced fighter jets like the F-35, the company is also working with NASA on the Orion spacecraft

RTX (formerly Raytheon Technologies)

  • Raytheon produces a wide range of military equipment, including the Javelin portable anti-tank missile system.
  • According to CSIS, the U.S. has supplied 7,000 Javelins to Ukraine, equal to roughly one-third of its stock.

Northrop Grumman

  • Formed in 1994 by the merger of Northrop and Grumman Aerospace, this company is known for developing the B-2 stealth bomber.
  • In August 2023, the company opened an office in Taiwan to “accelerate access to the company’s technologies”.

Country Highlights: China

China’s top three companies in this ranking are all state-owned enterprises.

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)

  • AVIC is China’s largest aerospace and defense company, also ranking 150th in the Fortune Global 500 (2023).
  • Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, a subsidiary of AVIC, produces China’s first operational stealth fighter, the J-20.

China North Industries Group (CNIG)

  • CNIG does business internationally under the name Norinco Group.
  • In 2003, Norinco was sanctioned by the Bush administration for allegedly supplying Iran with missile technologies.

China South Industries Group (CSIG)

  • CSIG produces military vehicles, ammunitions, and other equipment.
  • The company also owns Changan Automobile, a major car brand in China and one of the world’s largest EV producers.

Other Highlights

Two European companies on this list that aren’t typically associated with the defense industry are Airbus and Rolls-Royce.

Airbus is one of the world’s largest producers of commercial airliners, and is widely used by major carriers alongside offerings from Boeing. When it comes to defense, Airbus produces a variety of military drones, fighters, and transports.

On the other hand, Rolls-Royce is a major supplier of aircraft and naval engines, and designs the nuclear propulsion systems for the UK’s submarine fleet.

It actually has no affiliation with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which is currently a subsidiary of BMW. The original company ran into financial difficulties in the 1970s, which led to the separation of the car and aero-engine businesses.

Correction: A previous version of this article contained incorrect revenue totals. The graphic has since been updated.

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Charting the Next Generation of Internet

In this graphic, Visual Capitalist has partnered with MSCI to explore the potential of satellite internet as the next generation of internet innovation.

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Teaser image of a bubble chart showing the large addressable market of satellite internet.

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The following content is sponsored by MSCI

Could Tomorrow’s Internet be Streamed from Space?

In 2023, 2.6 billion people could not access the internet. Today, companies worldwide are looking to innovative technology to ensure more people are online at the speed of today’s technology. 

Could satellite internet provide the solution?  

In collaboration with MSCI, we embarked on a journey to explore whether tomorrow’s internet could be streamed from space. 

Satellite Internet’s Potential Customer Base

Millions of people live in rural communities or mobile homes, and many spend much of their lives at sea or have no fixed abode. So, they cannot access the internet simply because the technology is unavailable. 

Satellite internet gives these communities access to the internet without requiring a fixed location. Consequently, the volume of people who could get online using satellite internet is significant:

AreaPotential Subscribers
Households Without Internet Access600,000,000
RVs 11,000,000
Recreational Boats8,500,000
Ships100,000
Commercial Aircraft25,000

Advances in Satellite Technology

Satellite internet is not a new concept. However, it has only recently been that roadblocks around cost and long turnaround times have been overcome.

NASA’s space shuttle, until it was retired in 2011, was the only reusable means of transporting crew and cargo into orbit. It cost over $1.5 billion and took an average of 252 days to launch and refurbish. 

In stark contrast, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 can now launch objects into orbit and maintain them at a fraction of the time and cost, less than 1% of the space shuttle’s cost.

Average Rocket Turnaround TimeAverage Launch/Refurbishment Cost
Falcon 9*21 days< $1,000,000
Space Shuttle252 days$1,500,000,000 (approximately)

Satellites are now deployed 300 miles in low Earth orbit (LEO) rather than 22,000 miles above Earth in Geostationary Orbit (GEO), previously the typical satellite deployment altitude.

What this means for the consumer is that satellite internet streamed from LEO has a latency of 40 ms, which is an optimal internet connection. Especially when compared to the 700 ms stream latency experienced with satellite internet streamed from GEO. 

What Would it Take to Build a Satellite Internet?

SpaceX, the private company that operates Starlink, currently has 4,500 satellites. However, the company believes it will require 10 times this number to provide comprehensive satellite internet coverage.

Charting the number of active satellites reveals that, despite the increasing number of active satellites, many more must be launched to create a comprehensive satellite internet. 

YearNumber of Active Satellites
20226,905
20214,800
20203,256
20192,272
20182,027
20171,778
20161,462
20151,364
20141,262
20131,187

Next-Generation Internet Innovation

Innovation is at the heart of the internet’s next generation, and the MSCI Next Generation Innovation Index exposes investors to companies that can take advantage of potentially disruptive technologies like satellite internet. 

You can gain exposure to companies advancing access to the internet with four indexes: 

  • MSCI ACWI IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index
  • MSCI World IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation 30 Index
  • MSCI China All Shares IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index
  • MSCI China A Onshore IMI Next Generation Internet Innovation Index

MSCI thematic indexes are objective, rules-based, and regularly updated to focus on specific emerging trends that could evolve.

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Click here to explore the MSCI thematic indexes

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