Getting To Know American Military Manufacturers

Of the world’s 100 largest arms-producing and military service companies, no fewer than 47 are American. Clearly, American military manufacturers will continue to contribute mightily to the national and global economy as well as homeland defense. This article takes a quick look at a few of them.

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The largest is Lockheed Martin with over $36 billion in sales in 2011. As an aerospace and global security company, Lockheed Martin has employees worldwide that are engaged in research, design, development, integration, manufacture and maintenance of advanced technology systems, products and services. Lockheed Martin business operating units are Aeronautics, Information Systems and Global Solutions, Missiles and Fire Control, Mission Systems and Training, and Space Systems.

Lockheed Martin’s main weapons system at this time is the F-35 joint strike fighter for which the company has great expectations to become the world’s premier military aircraft program. South Korea plans to purchase forty of these radar-evasive aircraft, driving the price down for planned sales to the USA, Australia, Italy, Norway and the UK.

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Oshkosh Defense in Oshkosh, WI, manufactures and sustains tactical wheeled vehicles. For more than 90 years, Oshkosh has mobilized military and security forces with heavy, medium, light and armored vehicles to support military missions. Oshkosh produces advanced independent suspension systems, unmanned ground vehicles, integrated control and diagnostics systems, and diesel electric and on-board vehicle power systems to give customers technical advantages for their missions.

Oshkosh backs every vehicle with a team of defense industry experts and training services to keep fleets ready to perform. Oshkosh has launched a line of services for high-quality corrosion protection of heavy-duty industrial, specialty vehicle and commercial product companies throughout the Midwest. For these customers, Oshkosh Finishing Services continues to employ the disciplined processes and exacting quality standards required by the Department of Defense.

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Hewlett-Packard (HP), founded in 1939 in Palo Alto, CA, is now one of the world’s largest information technology companies with 146 USA locations in thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia. HP created the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), which connects more than 700,000 military and civilian employee accounts for secure and reliable defense communications. As computer networks go, only the Internet is larger. Prior to the NMCI, the Navy information technology infrastructure consisted of isolated, stand-alone systems independently procured and operated by individual commands.

Organizing and administering these individual systems impaired connectivity, increased costs and made information sharing mostly impossible. Lack of centralized management and planning caused significant disparity in technological capabilities among both Navy and Marine Corps commands. Then, NMCI changed all that by consolidating and standardizing network operations across every command level.

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Maybe the most versatile of American armament manufacturers, General Dynamics has been in business since 1899 and has become a formidable conglomerate through mergers and divestitures. Corporate headquarters is in Falls Church, Virginia. General Dynamics produces the Abrams M1 main battle tank, military-grade communication systems, munitions and ships. General Dynamics has three business groups to serve military customers:

  • (1) Combat Systems, an international worldwide leader in the production and enhancement of tracked and wheeled military vehicles, weapons systems and munitions for the US military and its allies
  • (2) Information Systems and Technology, which supports networked communications, cyber security, information-sharing and technological enterprise needs
  • (3) Marine Systems, a leading shipbuilder company that designs, constructs and supports the Navy with a diverse portfolio of ships and nuclear-powered submarines

Takeaways:

  • Nearly half of the world’s most prominent military manufacturers are American companies.
  • Lockheed Martin, Oshkosh Defense, HP and General Dynamics lead American military manufacturing thanks to advances in combat, communication and transport technology.

Article Sources:
http://online.wsj.com
http://www.siliconbeat.com
http://www.autoblog.com
http://www.sipri.org
http://gizmodo.com
http://www.autoblog.com

James Spader
 

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

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Gertrude

Well, at least the U.S. military is not outsourcing their manufacturing to China or India. I think I feel safer knowing that the majority of military defense contracts are made in America. I understand that it is all about capitalism for manufacturing companies such as the one in Wisconsin, but I feel somewhat conflicted that they are selling stealth technology weapons to countries that can one day use it against the U.S.. Then again, these are probably United Nations allies to the U.S..

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Daniel

I am kind of surprised to learn that Hewlett Packard was the company to get the contract for creating the military’s intranet. As we all know, HP is more renowned for printers than network systems. If you asked me to take a guess at which company would be the most likely to be awarded a contract to setup an intranet, I would guess Cisco or IBM. In any case, I’m sure they are quite competent when it comes to network installations.

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