While F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) contracts and modifications may make Lockheed Martin the leading fixed-wing contractor for the Pentagon, Boeing's combined rotary-wing, airframe and UAV deals were enough to make it the Defense Department's leader for aviation-related transactions in 2011, according to an Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) analysis.

Boeing secured $12.8 billion in aviation-related work in 2011, the most recent year for which data were available, as aggregated by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Lockheed had $10.8 billion worth of transactions, while Sikorsky came in a distant third, with $2.4 billion.

Most of Lockheed's deals were for fixed-wing aircraft contracts, at $10.1 billion. Boeing ranked second in the fixed-wing department, at $8.6 billion.

With about $20.6 billion in transactions, fixed-wing contracts ranked first among overall Pentagon spending for 2011. While fixed-wing expenses have traditionally ranked at the top in previous decades, in 2010 they ranked only third, at about $5 billion, or less than a third of what those expenditures have averaged in previous years.

Engineering and technical services ranked first in 2010, at $8.3 billion, and logistics and support services were second with $7.9 billion. Neither of those expenditure types ranked among the top Pentagon expenses a decade ago, but they have been creeping higher in the rankings during the past few years, garnering larger shares of what had been a growing Pentagon pie. But in 2010, that pie diminished and the analysis suggests these types of service expenses ate directly into contractual-obligation funding for stalwart programs such as fixed-wing aircraft.

While acquisition deals are again providing greater lift for aviation-related expenses, increased aircraft maintenance and modification work also is driving funding, and is expected to continue to do so for some time.

Boeing is seeing a lot of support for F-15 and F/A-18E/F programs from the U.S. Air Force and Navy, respectively, especially for upgrades or sustainment. USAF is set to spend $5.8 billion on F-15 programs in fiscal 2008-17, with F-15E Strike Eagles accounting for $3.2 billion of that total, according to an AWIN analysis of data provided by Avascent Analytics. Most of the work—about $3 billion—is for sustainment/modification of the Strike Eagles.

The Navy is projected to spend about $31.9 billion for F/A-18E/F-related programs in fiscal 2008-17, according to the analysis. Modification/sustainment of the F/A-18E/F fleet is expected to cost $9.3 billion.

Despite lawmakers' efforts to block the U.S. from purchasing Mi-17 helicopters from Russian-owned Rosoboronexport for the Afghan air force, the company ranks ninth among Pentagon defense contractors.

Leading U.S. Contractors for Fixed- and Rotary-Wing Aircraft, Airframes and UAVs in 2011
Contractor Number of Contracts or Modifications Total Value Average per Transaction
 1. Boeing 5,926 $12,831,314,345 $2,165,257
 2. Lockheed Martin 1,145 10,808,630,269 9,439,852
 3. Sikorsky 2,154 2,439,074,680 1,132,347
 4. Northrop Grumman 856 1,138,468,767 1,329,987
 5. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems 152 911,433,342 5,996,272
 6. Bell Helicopter Textron 1,003 693,579,281 691,505
 7. EADS North America Defense 115 424,437,005 3,690,757
 8. L-3 Communications 275 411,506,206 1,496,386
 9. Rosoboronexport 4 377,499,442 94,374,861
10. Beechcraft 122 364,501,430 2,987,717
11. AAI 65 339,372,089 5,221,109
12. Bell Boeing Joint Project Office 194 320,644,107 1,652,805
13. Rolls-Royce 16 147,175,456 9,198,466
14. AeroVironment 59 129,822,110 2,200,375
15. TCOM 9 88,542,514 9,838,057
16. Cessna Aircraft 6 88,308,292 14,718,049
17. Composite Engineering 40 84,492,118 2,112,303
18. Miscellaneous Foreign Contractors 34 53,901,933 1,585,351
19. Robertson Aviation 26 52,041,510 2,001,597
20. BAE Systems 44 51,377,934 1,167,680
21. Honeywell 34 50,523,908 1,485,997
22. Orion Air Group 1 50,000,000 50,000,000
23. Radant Technologies 1 44,803,800 44,803,800
24. Maritime Helicopter Support 4 40,119,686 10,029,922
25. Middle Georgia Diversified Industries 9 39,668,011 4,407,557
26. Sierra Nevada 18 39,039,682 2,168,871
27. AgustaWestland 4 37,813,451 9,453,363
28. Raytheon 20 32,842,597 1,642,130
29. Alliant Techsystems 18 30,101,201 1,672,289
30. Thales Avionics 8 25,842,813 3,230,352
Sources: Aviation Week Intelligence Network, National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting