Want to know who are the top 5 aerospace manufacturing companies? We’ve got you covered. The aerospace and defence industry is critical. Not only does it pioneer the advancement of technology that allows us to travel and explore the Earth’s atmosphere and surrounding space but it also helps to ensure our safety and security through the development of military vehicles, equipment and systems.

The USA and UK have some of the largest aerospace industries in the world, along with France and Germany and it’s here that you’ll find many of the household names in the sector. But who are today’s market leaders? Here are the top five aerospace manufacturing companies worldwide.

Top 5 Aerospace Manufacturing Companies

1. BAE Systems

BAE Systems is the UK’s biggest manufacturer of advanced aerospace and defence solutions.

The company was formed in 1999 following a purchase and merger between Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) a subsidiary of the General Electric Company (GEC) and British Aerospace (BAe). Though the company’s history can be traced back to 19th-century shipbuilders!

With over 93,000 employees across 40 countries, BAE Systems has over 50 sites in the UK alone. A leading global developer of defence and combat technology, BAE manufactures military aircraft, naval ships and combat vehicles as well as munitions and artillery systems.

The company is most famous for producing the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Typhoon is a result of a collaboration between several European countries, including the UK (with BAE Systems as a major partner), Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The Eurofighter Typhoon has a top speed of approximately Mach 2, which is about 2,495 kilometres per hour (1,550 miles per hour) at altitude and the aircraft is capable of supercruise, which means it can sustain supersonic flight without the need for afterburners, significantly enhancing its operational range and reducing its radar signature.

image of a typhoon fighter jet

BAE Systems, who we’re a proud supplier to, was recently given the go-ahead to acquire US-based spacecraft developer Ball Aerospace who has established relationships with the Intelligence Community and civilian space market. BAE also recently delivered a new test Amphibious Combat Vehicle to the US Marine Corps.

2. Rolls-Royce

To those outside the aerospace industry, Rolls-Royce is probably best known as a manufacturer of luxury vehicles, however, this British company also has a long and well-established history of manufacturing civilian and military aircraft engines and marine propulsion equipment.

Rolls-Royce’s first aircraft engine was the Eagle, which was developed in 1915. The Eagle was the first engine to make a non-stop trans-Atlantic flight possible. It played a significant role during World War I, powering a variety of aircraft due to its reliability and performance. The development of the Eagle marked Rolls-Royce’s entry into the aviation industry, setting the stage for its future as a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines.

The Rolls-Royce Merlin is one of the most famous and successful aircraft engines developed by Rolls-Royce. First run in 1933, the Merlin was a liquid-cooled V-12 piston engine that became a cornerstone of Allied air power during World War II. It was renowned for its exceptional performance, reliability, and versatility, powering a wide range of aircraft including the iconic Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, and North American P-51 Mustang.

Today, with over a century of experience and expertise behind them, Rolls-Royce operates across fifty countries and is an industry leader in providing civil aerospace, defence and power systems solutions.

3. Boeing

American aerospace company Boeing is the third-largest aerospace manufacturing company in the world and amongst the top ten aircraft manufacturers.

The Boeing 747, affectionately known as the “Jumbo Jet,” is one of the most iconic and recognisable aircraft in the history of commercial aviation. First flown in 1969, it revolutionised air travel by making it possible for airlines to offer long-haul international flights on an unprecedented scale due to its large passenger capacity and range. The 747 was the first wide-body aeroplane ever produced, characterised by its distinctive hump on the upper deck, which houses the cockpit and often a first-class lounge or additional seating.

Despite its success and beloved status, the rise of more fuel-efficient, twin-engine wide-body jets has led to a decrease in demand for the 747. Boeing announced in 2020 that it would end production of the 747, with the last unit delivered in 2022, marking the end of an era for the iconic Jumbo Jet.

 4. Airbus

International aerospace company Airbus works across both the commercial and defence sectors. Founded in 1970 and based in Toulouse, France, Airbus are a relative newcomer to the aerospace industry but quickly established itself as a top player and now boasts 130,000 employees across 180 locations worldwide.

Airbus’s most famous creation is the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner. The A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner that first flew on April 27, 2005. It was designed to challenge Boeing’s monopoly in the large aircraft market and could carry more passengers than any other airliner, with a typical seating capacity of 555 passengers in a three-class configuration and the ability to carry up to 853 passengers in a single-class economy layout.

The A380’s design includes advanced technology, such as a glass cockpit, and it is recognised for its quiet, spacious, and comfortable cabin. However, despite its engineering marvels and passenger appeal, the A380 faced challenges in the market due to changing airline preferences towards more fuel-efficient, smaller twin-engine jets. Airbus announced in February 2019 that production of the A380 would end in 2021, marking the end of an iconic era in commercial aviation.

image of an airbus a380

5. Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is an aerospace and defence company with expertise in aircraft, satellite and cyber technologies. With headquarters in Maryland, USA and a UK HQ in London, the company employs over 100,000 people worldwide and has over 375 facilities across the globe.

Lockheed Martin created the F-22 Raptor, a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft. Developed for the United States Air Force (USAF), the F-22 represented a leap forward in air combat capabilities, combining stealth, agility, and situational awareness with unprecedented air combat capabilities. First flown in 1997, the F-22 was designed to be superior in air-to-air combat, but it also has capabilities for ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.

The F-22 Raptor’s advanced stealth technology allows it to penetrate enemy defences and avoid detection by radar. Its sophisticated avionics and systems provide pilots with unparalleled situational awareness, and its combination of speed, stealth, and agility makes it one of the most formidable fighters in the world. Despite its high development and procurement costs, which ultimately led to the cessation of its production in 2011 after 195 aircraft were built, the F-22 remains a key component of the U.S. air dominance strategy and is unmatched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.

Airframe Designs Aerospace Manufacturing Capabilities

Here at Airframe Designs, we have more than a decade of experience in helping our customers solve complex engineering problems and providing expertise in engineering design, analysis and certification.

We provide specialist engineering services to our customers in the aviation, defence and space sectors and have contributed to over 500 projects.

Across our three teams – Stress, Design and Additive Manufacturing, we have over fifty years of cumulative knowledge and experience and our capabilities encompass Design, Analysis, Certification, and Manufacturing.

Find out more about who we are and the services we offer or contact Airframe Designs to discuss how we can help with your next project.