Companies in this industry manufacture aircraft, aircraft components, and missiles and space vehicles. Major companies include US-based Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), as well as Airbus Group (the Netherlands), BAE Systems (the UK), Bombardier (Canada), and Leonardo (Italy). Many companies work primarily as subcontractors to the largest manufacturers.
Demand is driven by military budgets and the overall economic climate, which affects airline traffic and demand for new commercial aircraft. The profitability of individual companies depends on technical expertise and the ability to accurately price long-term contracts. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in design, manufacturing, and purchasing. Small companies can compete effectively by concentrating on selected components and parts manufacturing for particular prime contractors. Increasingly, small companies are developing system integration capabilities as large firms outsource more aspects of contracts. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 20 largest companies account for about 90% of industry revenue.