The US has the largest military spending of any other country. Therefore, the leading contractors in the military space are the defense contractors for the US Department of Defense. The continued strength and stability of the US economy make this government the best client these companies can have, and it also, to an extent, guarantees their continued revenue growth. To that end, here are the eight leading weapons and defense systems manufacturers in 2022.  

Textron

Textron official site home page

Textron is, by all standards, a conglomerate. It dabbles in the production and maintenance of military and civilian aircraft, ammunition, recreational vehicles, and engines. It is divided into five major business sections: Textron Aviation, Bell Helicopter, Textron Systems, Industrial, and Finance. 

The Aviation and Bell divisions account for the majority of this company’s revenue. These divisions encompass brands such as Cessna, Bell, Hawker, Cushman, EZ-GO, among others. In 2021, the company reported annual revenue of $12.4 billion, which was $731 million more than that of 2020. 

L3Harris Technologies

L3Harris Technologies

The company was formed as a result of a merger between L3 Technologies and Harris Corp, which went into effect in June of 2019. This saw the resulting company become the sixth-largest military contractor for the US government. 

The company’s activities are classified into four major divisions. Income-wise, integrated mission systems account for 30% of their total revenue, while space and airborne systems account for 25%. The remaining are communication and aviation systems, each contributing 23% to their annual yield. In 2021, the firm made about $17.8 billion in revenue. 

Huntington Ingalls Industries Incorporated

Huntington Ingalls Industries Incorporated - the start page of the company site

This company started out as a division of Northrop Grumman before spinning off into an independent contractor in 2011. Nowadays, it is mainly concerned with building nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the Department of Defense.  

Huntington Ingalls is divided into three major divisions. The first is Newport News Shipbuilding, which produces nuclear aircraft carriers and subs. The second is Ingalls Shipbuilding, which deals with surface combatant ships and assault ships, as well as cutters for the Coast Guard. The final section is called Technical Solutions, which provides maintenance to their amphibious vehicle fleet, IT support, and management of the nuclear and autonomous systems.

The company reported an income of $2.3 billion in Q3 of 2021, up 1% from the same period in 2020.

Boeing

THe Boeing company start page

This is a company that is famed for its mammoth commercial jets, but their contracts for the US military make up a substantial chunk of the yearly revenue. In 2021, for example, the defense programs yielded 26.54 billion US dollars, up 1% from the previous year. 

Boeing produces fighter jets like the F/A-18 and F-15. The latter has undergone some upgrades and is being sold to the Air Force as F-15EX. It also manufactures the T-7 Red Hawk trainer jet, the MQ-25 Stingray used for mid-air refueling, and the KC-46 tanker. Further, it produces the P-8 Poseidon, which is used for aerial surveillance. In addition to defense, Boeing also has space programs and is currently building a rocket to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman site home page

This is a company that is famed for their B-21 stealth bomber, which the Air Force plans to procure in the hundreds, which is estimated to cost the Department of Defense upwards of $80 billion. Northrop Grumman also works hand-in-hand with Lockheed Martin to produce the F-35 fighter jet. In addition to these, the company also produces drones, and their recent acquisition of Orbital ATK saw them dip their toe in space programs as well.  

Northrop Grumman also was awarded the contract to produce the Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which is meant to replace traditional nuclear missiles. This contract is valued at around $100 billion, which will ensure a steady rate of revenue growth over the coming years. In 2021, their full-year revenue was $35.7 billion.

Lockheed Martin

The Lockheed company site home page

This is the largest defense contractor globally by revenue. In 2021, their yearly revenue was a whopping $67 billion, up 2.5% from 2020. The joint F-35 contract with Northrop is the costliest military contract ever, amounting to about $400 billion. Their Aeronautics section also produces F-22s, F-16s, and C-130s. They also have a Rotary and Mission Systems department, which deals in combat ships and their electronics and helicopters. 

Lockheed’s other smaller departments are Space Systems which produces satellites, and Missiles and Fire Control which deals with missiles and their defense systems. In addition to the US government, Lockheed also has several international clients, such as the UAE.

Raytheon Technologies 

The Raytheon Technologies site home page

In 2020, Raytheon and United Technologies held a 100-billion-dollar merger to become Raytheon Technologies. In Q4 of 2021, this giant reported revenues of $17 billion. It is majorly concerned with missile defense systems, with offerings such as the Patriot missile defense system and the Aegis air defense system. Currently, these systems are in high demand as the US faces tension with Russia, North Korea, and China.  

Raytheon also produces a variety of missiles and ammunition, the most famous of which is the Tomahawk cruise missile. In addition to these, it also dabbles in radar systems, electronics, cyber defense, and hypersonic technology.

General Dynamics

The General Dynamics site home page

This is among the market leaders in shipbuilding. It is producing Littoral Combat ships, as well as the electric Virginia-class and Columbia-class submarines. They also make the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and Zumwalt-class next-gen destroyer. In addition to these, they design auxiliary and support ships for the US Navy and oil tankers and cargo ships for commercial uses. 

Other than ships, GD also produces land weapons systems such as the Abrams tank, the Stryker vehicles, and light armored vehicles. They are also the company behind Gulfstream, which is a family of commercial jets. In 2021, they reported annual revenue of $38.5 billion.

Conclusion

The US has the largest military spending by far, and the recent change in administration did little to change this trend. For that reason, aerospace and defense contractors are expected to keep posting steady revenue growth over the coming years, which makes them attractive stock choices for investors.