War Profiteer of the Month: Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is the world's biggest arms manufacturer, and world's biggest exporter of arms. The company was formed in 1995 through the merger of the Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta, and has since then acquired a number of other companies, such as the helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky in 2015. The companies headquarters are in the USA and it employs over 126,000 people worldwide, building everything from ballistic missiles to combat ships, robots to satellites, radars to aircraft, and other products and services. Lockheed Martin sells to countries all over the world, and the UK is the companies largest market outside the USA. Lockheed has seen it's stock price triple since 2009. While the vast majority of the companies work is based on military equipment, it also invests in renewable and nuclear energy, healthcare, and space technology.
F35 Lightning II
The F35 is a fighter jet being built by a group of companies from around the world, led by Lockheed Martin, and has been sold to militaries around the world, including the USA, UK, Israel, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Norway, and Denmark. The plane is the most expensive weapons system ever built, and has been plagued by a wide range of problems, and run massively over cost. Despite this, the UK is set to purchase 138 F35 fighter jets, at a cost of £150 billion, and accounts for about 37% of Lockheed Martin's income. The USA plans to buy 3,100 F35's. Norway estimates that their 52 F35s will each cost $40 billion over their lifetime.
Lockheed Martin is responsible for the construction of the Trident D5 II missile used by the UK and the USA, and the Minuteman III missile used by the USA. Each Trident D5 II missile is worth $65 million, and the contract to maintain Minuteman III missiles is worth over $450 million. Lockheed is part of the consortium of companies that run the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire, where the UK's nuclear warheads are designed, built, and maintained.
The companies website boasts “Lockheed Martin’s legacy in developing operational intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) officially began in 1955 when the U.S. Air Force awarded the contract for the Atlas ICBM. Lockheed Martin’s 50-year-plus ICBM heritage includes delivering more than 700 missiles and more than 3,000 reentry vehicles to the Air Force.”
Unsurprisingly, Lockheed Martin faces protests around the world. Anti-nuclear movements in the UK and USA regularly target factories - such as the Atomic Weapons Establishment in the UK - that the company runs, as well as targeting the companies London HQ during the DSEI arms fair. In 2017, protesters in Australia occupied a building scheduled to be demolished to make way for a new Lockheed Martin research facility, in protest at the companies "growing influence" in the country.
Based in: USA
Builds: wide range of planes, drones, nuclear weapons, tanks, combat ships, robots, satellites, and other technology.
Key markets: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland,Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA, UK