Lockheed Martin again emerged as the largest US Department of Defense (DoD) contractor in 1999. Boeing is still second, but closing rapidly, thanks to a ramp-up in production of the new F/A-18E/F fighter and V-22 tiltrotor for the US Navy and Marine Corps.

The DoD spent $70 billion with the top 100 US defence companies last year out of a total of $118 billion on contracts. Lockheed Martin and its 21 divisions and subsidiaries won $12.7 billion of work, an increase of 3.25% on the previous year. A total of $7.6 billion from the US Air Force included continued support for the F-16 and development of the new F-22.

Boeing, which is also an F-22 partner, is threatening to overtake Lockheed Martin, having secured $11.6 billion worth of defence contracts last year - a jump of 6.4% on 1998. Boeing was the largest US Navy contractor last year, with $3.7 billion of work, pushing Lockheed Martin into second place.

Raytheon was the top US Army contractor and again came third in the overall DoD rankings, with $6.4 billion of contracts. That total is likely to increase in the next few years as production of the Beech T-6A trainer and new AIM-9X air-to-air missile is stepped up.

Other major aerospace companies in the DoD top 10 include Northrop Grumman and United Technologies in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

General Electric ranked eighth, from 13 in 1998, while Bell Helicopter owner Textron slipped from seventh to 10th position as the result of a 22% year-on-year slide in DoD contracts.

Source: Flight International