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The Largest Aerospace Companies In the World, And What They Do

Hi there! Today I want to walk you through the 10 largest aerospace companies in the world. I‘ll discuss what they do, their history, key innovations, financials, and more. My goal is to give you an in-depth look at these titans of the aerospace industry. Sound good? Let‘s get started!

First, what exactly do these huge aerospace companies do? They design, manufacture, and service commercial and military aircraft, helicopters, rockets, satellites, missiles, and other high-tech aviation and space products. Just some of their creations include commercial jets like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, military jets like the F-35, and rockets like NASA‘s Space Launch System.

The aerospace industry is absolutely massive, employing hundreds of thousands globally. But it‘s highly consolidated, with just a handful of companies dominating the market. These firms invest billions in R&D and high-tech manufacturing to build the most advanced aircraft and spacecraft in the world.

Their customers include airlines, airports, armed forces, space agencies, and more. Competition is fierce for lucrative government and commercial contracts. Building a modern jetliner alone can cost over $10 billion! So you can see how only the most massive corporations have the scale and resources to survive in this sector.

Alright, let‘s get to the rankings based on each company‘s current market value. I‘ll highlight their key facts, products, and innovations along the way. Starting at number 10:

10. Howmet Aerospace: $13.7 billion market cap

Founded: 1910 (as Alcoa)

HQ: Pittsburgh, PA

Employees: ~19,000

Howmet Aerospace specializes in advanced metallic aircraft components like jet engine blades, frames, fasteners, and landing gear. They supply all the major aircraft manufacturers and reported 2021 sales of $5 billion.

Recently, Howmet has been investing to expand capacity and next-gen technology in high-demand areas like 3D printed aerospace parts. For instance, in 2021 they opened a new $50 million plant in Hampton, VA dedicated to 3D printing complex engine components more quickly and efficiently.

9. BAE Systems: $27.5 billion market cap

Founded: 1999 (merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems)

HQ: London, UK

Employees: ~89,600

BAE Systems is one of the world‘s largest defense contractors and a key supplier to the UK Royal Air Force and other global armed forces. In fact, a whopping 95% of BAE‘s 2021 sales of $23.3 billion came from defense.

Major programs include the Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighter and F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter. They also build combat vehicles, missiles, cybersecurity systems, and more. BAE is currently developing the next-gen Tempest fighter in collaboration with Italy and Sweden to replace Typhoons by 2035.

8. TransDigm Group: $28.3 billion market cap

Founded: 1993

HQ: Cleveland, OH

Employees: ~14,000

TransDigm manufactures specialized components for aircraft systems and power supply like pumps, valves, regulators, and more. Their proprietary parts are used on nearly all major commercial airliners and many military aircraft.

About half of TransDigm‘s $5.1 billion 2021 revenue came from the aftermarket, providing replacement parts and maintenance to airlines and militaries with aging fleets. Gross profit margin is an enviable 55% since many of their parts are sole-sourced.

7. Safran: $41 billion market cap

Founded: 2005 (merger of Sagem and Snecma)

HQ: Paris, France

Employees: ~72,000

Safran is a major French aerospace and defense company, providing aircraft and rocket engines, avionics, landing gear, satellites, drones, and more. Their 2021 sales were 15.3 billion euros.

Safran‘s innovative LEAP jet engine (jointly produced with GE) powers many Boeing and Airbus narrowbody airliners. Safran also makes the boosters for Europe‘s Ariane rockets. Recently, they‘ve been selected to build the engines for NASA‘s Orion spacecraft.

6. Airbus: $72 billion market cap

Founded: 1970

HQ: Leiden, Netherlands

Employees: ~126,000

You‘ve probably flown on one of Airbus‘ commercial jets like the A320 or A350! They delivered 611 aircraft in 2021, generating 52.1 billion euros in sales. Airbus has assembled an order backlog of over 7,000 jets worth $589 billion.

Beyond airliners, Airbus is also the world‘s #2 defense contractor and makes helicopters, satellites, drones, and rockets. R&D spending is massive – 5.6 billion euros in 2021 alone. Airbus aims to have zero-emission jets in service by 2035.

5. Boeing: $78 billion market cap

Founded: 1916

HQ: Arlington, VA

Employees: ~156,000

Boeing‘s commercial division delivered 79% of the 340 jets it built in 2021, including 737s and 787 Dreamliners. But defense is key too – F-15 and F/A-18 fighters, Apache helicopters, satellites, and missiles make up over half of Boeing‘s $62.3 billion 2021 revenue.

Boeing spends around $7 billion annually on R&D. They‘re working on an all-new midsize jetliner, hypersonic technology, autonomous systems, and sustainable aviation fuels. Boeing‘s experienced serious setbacks recently due to 737 MAX issues and the pandemic.

4. Northrop Grumman: $78.5 billion market cap

Founded: 1939

HQ: Falls Church, VA

Employees: ~88,000

Northrop Grumman builds spy satellites, drones, stealth bombers, and nuclear-armed missiles for the U.S. military. But they also provide radars, cybersecurity, logistics, and other tech services. 2021 sales were $35.7 billion.

Northrop is the lead contractor for the B-21 Raider stealth bomber, which will eventually replace the aging B-2. They also built the James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop spends $2 billion+ on R&D annually, focusing on autonomous systems.

3. Lockheed Martin: $109 billion market cap

Founded: 1995 (Lockheed and Martin Marietta merger)

HQ: Bethesda, MD

Employees: ~114,000

Lockheed Martin is the world‘s #1 defense contractor and top recipient of U.S. military funding. Their products include the F-35 and F-22 fighters, C-130 transport, missile defense systems, hypersonic weapons, and satellites. 2021 sales were $67 billion.

Commercial business includes aeronautics research, energy storage, and private space services. Lockheed is building NASA‘s Orion for deep space exploration and investing in quantum computing and AI applications.

2. Honeywell: $117 billion market cap

Founded: 1906 (as Allied Chemical)

HQ: Charlotte, NC

Employees: ~104,000

Honeywell produces avionics, engines, brake systems, and other critical equipment for airliners and private jets. Their 2021 aerospace sales were $15.2 billion out of $34.4 billion total. Honeywell also has a major defense division supplying navigation systems, sensors, propulsion, and protective gear.

Honeywell invested nearly $1.5 billion in aerospace R&D in 2021. They‘re making flight controls more automated, developing hybrid-electric propulsion, and enabling urban air mobility with technologies like detect-and-avoid systems.

1. Raytheon Technologies: $124.5 billion market cap

Founded: 2020 (United Technologies and Raytheon merger)

HQ: Waltham, MA

Employees: ~181,000

Raytheon is a massive U.S. aerospace and defense corporation. Their Collins Aerospace unit supplies avionics, seats, interiors, and flight controls for commercial jets. Pratt & Whitney builds aircraft engines. Raytheon Intelligence & Space creates air defense systems, missiles, radars, and cyber solutions for the military. 2021 sales were $64.4 billion.

Raytheon invested $3.4 billion in R&D last year. They‘re developing hypersonic and directed energy weapons, secure communications, AI/ML technologies, and more. Their order backlog exceeds $150 billion.

So there you have it – the top 10 aerospace companies ranked by value! From commercial jetliners to stealth fighters and beyond, these corporations are driving innovation while generating hundreds of billions in annual revenue. Their advanced technologies support global connectivity and security. And aerospace manufacturing remains a vital economic engine employing thousands worldwide.

I hope you found this overview insightful. Let me know if you have any other questions!