Although it may not pay to perform well for the Pentagon per se, somewhere down the line there could be a payoff for being a master of the Iron Triangle.

That is one plausible conclusion after comparing the latest Top-Performing Companies (TPC) from Aviation Week with the most recent list of “superior suppliers” and prime contractors on major defense acquisition programs from the U.S. Defense Department. While TPC has been published since the mid-1990s, this is the first time results can be weighed against new contractor performance rankings released by the Pentagon since last summer.

To be sure, TPC and Pentagon data do not provide an “apples-to-apples” comparison directly because the data being measured is different—e.g., financial performance in TPC versus cost and schedule performance by the Pentagon.

But TPC data also show a company’s average score over five years, up to 2014, while the Performance of the Defense Acquisition System report last June from the Defense Department measured price and schedule growth in development and production contracts over 14 fiscal years through 2013.

In turn, many companies can be evaluated using longer-term results available in both surveys that paint bigger, albeit circumstantial, pictures. One point of particular interest is that the best contractor across the TPC and Pentagon surveys seems to be Britain’s BAE Systems.

In TPC results covering 2014 financials, BAE ranked fifth in its category, and over a five-year period it came in third, behind Boeing and Lockheed Martin, respectively.

In Pentagon performance rankings on schedule growth in development programs, however, “BAE Systems had the best performance (with no schedule growth on any of its six contracts),” according to the June report. Likewise, in price growth from 2000 to 2013, BAE notched a -3% result—a far cry from other primes like Boeing (8% growth), Lockheed (37%), Northrop Grumman (41%), General Dynamics (22%) and Raytheon (32%).

Although BAE was not named by the Pentagon when it listed price and schedule growth by prime contractors in production contracts, competitors were. These included: Lockheed (-1% price growth, 0.5 years schedule slippage), Boeing (24%, 1.1 years), Northrop (-3%, 2 years), GD (-4%, none), Raytheon (-2%, none), Huntington Ingalls Industries (21%, 0.8 years), and Oshkosh (13%, -0.7 years).

Yet when it came to the best-performing providers as named by the U.S. armed services and the Defense Logistics Agency in their three-tier “superior supplier” lists, BAE was regularly cited. For example, BAE Electronic Systems was named a top-tier performer by the Air Force and Army, and second tier by the Navy Department. BAE Global Combat Systems also made the Army’s top tier. BAE Systems Land and Armaments is on the Navy’s second- and Army’s third-tier lists. And BAE Systems Intelligence and Security is in the Air Force’s third tier.

Not surprisingly, Boeing and Lockheed Martin units also are prevalent in the superior supplier lists, particularly for the Air Force. At the same time, the TPC advisory council as a whole viewed BAE as a “challenged organization, operationally and financially.” It may have suffered from an overreliance on U.S. land warfare business tied to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and BAE’s “value creation” as a business in recent years has been pegged to acquired business lines, not necessarily organic growth.

In the end, BAE may not be leading the pack of its TPC peers, but it is managing its business portfolio, and performing relatively well for the Pentagon.