Executive Summary

Producing mass destruction: Private companies and the nuclear weapons industry.

Full report available here.

Governments are contracting at least US$ 116 billion (€ 102 billion) to private companies in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States for production, development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. State owned companies in China connected to nuclear weapon production are starting to raise money through bond issuances, while Israeli, Pakistani, North Korean, and Russian nuclear programmes are still not transparent.

Complicit Companies

This report provides full profiles of 28 companies connected to the production of nuclear weapons. Most of those companies are involved in the US arsenal, as the contracting system in the US is quite transparent. However, there is also information on companies connected to the French, Indian and UK arsenals. The full report also contains brief profiles of 11 other companies, including a Chinese company, whose nuclear weapon related activities are outside the scope of the research but are still relevant while painting the picture of the global nuclear weapons industry.

This is the first time a Chinese company has been included. China National Nuclear Corporation is outside the general scope of this research (it is state owned), as they have recently done a bond issuance, some information is included to draw attention to the growing transparency and interconnectivity of even Chinese State-owned nuclear weapon associated companies.

There are a few companies that stand out in terms of their overall nuclear weapon related activities, with billions in outstanding contracts. For example, Huntington Ingalls Industries which is connected to several facilities in the US nuclear weapons enterprise, is part of more than US$ 28 billion in outstanding contracts. Lockheed Martin is a close runner-up, connected to more than US$ 25 billion in contracts.

This report provides information on outstanding contracts related to the production of key components for nuclear weapons. Airplanes and submarines are outside the scope of the report. However, companies involved in producing airplanes and submarines designed to deliver nuclear weapons are often involved in other parts of nuclear weapon production. For example, Lockheed Martin, which is currently producing the F35 (Joint Strike Fighter), one variant of which will be certified to drop nuclear weapons, is included in this report because of more than US$ 7.9 billion (€ 6.9 billion) in outstanding contracts for nuclear armed missiles for the US and UK.

New Nuclear Arms Race

Despite global calls for restraint and nuclear disarmament, new nuclear weapons are being developed in all nuclear armed countries. The report includes information about a few new types of weapons, including the US Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and Long-Range Standoff weapons, the French ASMPA-successor the ASN4G, and the Indian efforts to expand to submarine launched ballistic missiles. In addition, efforts to build hypersonic submarine launched ballistic missile capabilities, like those planned in a US$ 109.5 million (€ 95.9 million) contract with the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, are discussed in the relevant profiles.

Some of the lower yield weapon options outlined in the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review are also now under development. For example, the US National Nuclear Security Administration has started building the first low-yield, submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead W76-2, at the Pantex Plant in Texas. The conversion of W76-1 warheads into W76-2 warheads will cost a minimum of US$ 125 million (€ 110.1 million).[1] The private contractors involved in this work are part of Consolidated Nuclear Services LLC (CNS), a Bechtel -led joint venture including Leidos, ATK Launch Systems (now part of Northrop Grumman), SOC, and Booz Allen Hamilton[2] as a teaming subcontractor.[3]

Many of the outstanding contracts identified in this report were granted around 2015 and are set to expire in 2020. However, some nuclear weapon associated contracts were awarded with much longer time frames in mind. For example, a contract for a key component necessary to launch US Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) was designed to keep the missiles ready to launch until at least 2075. Some Trident contracts are designed to keep the system fully functional until at least 2042. Generally, though, most contracts are arranged in five to ten-year increments, and are modified regularly to meet cost overruns, delivery delays and add-on projects. Contracts are constantly changing, and a contract that is initially set for one amount may be adjusted by an order of magnitude within a month.

In 2018, there were surprising contracts awarded that prepare the ground for future US fissile materials production. Ostensibly for Tritium extraction, the US$ 505 million (€ 427.5 million) contract awarded in September 2018 to a subsidiary of BWX Technologies was for activities described by the US government to “provide a reliable and economical source of unobligated enriched uranium”, free from peaceful use restrictions, until at least 2025. [4]

After years of complaints about the contractors running the lab, Huntington Ingalls Industries took over the management and operations for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2018 with a five-year contract estimated at US$ 2.5 billion (€ 2.2 billion) annually. [5] However, the same contractors that have been previously reprimanded for poor performance, including BWX Technologies, remain in place at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California.

US nuclear weapons in Europe

An estimated 180 B61 nuclear gravity bombs are currently deployed by the US at airbases in five European countries (Kleine Brogel AB in Belgium, Buechel AB in Germany, Aviano AB and Ghedi AB in Italy, Volkel AB in the Netherlands, and Incirlik AB in Turkey). Despite a majority of those populations objecting to this stationing, work is under way to replace the B61 bombs with a new version, the B61-12. The Federation of American Scientists reports, however, that there are 2-5 year delays on the B61-12 project as a whole, while new bomb plans (B61-13) are meant to start in 2038.[6]

Three of the contractors named in the report are involved in production activities for the B61-12. Boeing is producing the tail-kit assembly under a US$ 185 million (€ 163 million) contract. Honeywell International operates and manages the Sandia National Laboratory which designed the new hardware for the bomb, and Huntington Ingalls Industries provides nuclear operations and manufacturing. According to the contract terms, the Boeing designed B61-12 tail kits are meant to be ready by May 2019.[7] These are the weapons the United States deploys outside their territory, it is yet unclear when the new bombs will be delivered to their European locations. Another company, Atlantic CommTech got a contract in 2016 to modernize the Weapon Storage and Security System at the hosting bases in Europe, but that work is only meant to conclude by October 2020.[8]

The new contracts, the new types of weapons, the new allocation of resources all show that the new nuclear arms race is happening.

Summary descriptions of the major nuclear weapon producers profiled.

Aecom is involved in work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, it is involved in research, design, development and production of nuclear weapons,[9] including the life extension program of the B61 nuclear bomb[10] and of the W80-1 nuclear warhead for air-launched cruise missiles.[11] Aecom has held this US $45.5 million (€ 40.1 million) per year contract since 2007.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is involved in maintaining the propulsion systems for Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles for the US, under a US $28.9 million (€ 25.5 million) contract initially awarded in 2013. It also produces propulsion systems for the Trident II (D5) missiles for the US and UK. [12] Aerojet Rocketdyne is also a subcontractor on the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent for the US arsenal. In 2018, Aerojet Rocketdyne secured an additional five-year contract for US $20 million (€ 17.6 million) for solid boost technology that will be applied to the next generation of weapons systems.[13]

Airbus is a Netherlands based company involved in the ongoing maintenance and development of several nuclear armed missiles for the French nuclear arsenal through ArianeGroup, a joint venture with the French company Safran. [14] Airbus is also part of the joint venture MBDA that supplies medium-range air to surface missiles, also for the French arsenal. [15]

BAE Systems has a maximum value US$ 368.7 million (€ 328 million) contract originally from October 2014 that will run until 2021 that is paid by the US and UK governments for key components for Trident II (D5) missiles.[16] BAE also has a US$ 951.4 million (€ 830.8 million) contract from the US Air Force for Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system, which will run until 2022.[17] BAE is also involved in the French arsenal directly, through MBDA Systems, developing the medium-range air-to-surface missile ASMPA and its successor, ASN4G.[18] In July 2017, BAE got a new US$ 45.2 million (€ 39.6 million) modification to an existing contract for development work on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missile replacement programme.[19]

Bechtel is a family run company involved in nuclear weapon development at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Y-12 Complex, and the Pantex Plant. Bechtel currently has approximately US $ 1,174 million (€ 1,035 million) in outstanding contracts at these facilities. Bechtel is also involved in one of the new nuclear weapons under design in the US, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, though their exact contract amount is unclear.[20]

Bharat Dynamics Limited produces key components for the Prithvi-II and Agni- V nuclear capable missiles for the Indian arsenal.[21]

Boeing is building new nuclear weapons for the US. These include a 2017 contract for US$ 349.2 million (€ 297 million) for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent,[22] to replace the Minuteman III ICBMs. Boeing is also involved in the Long-Range Standoff weapon development and has been awarded several contracts since 2017 for this new nuclear weapon, valued at US $ 344.5 million (€ 304 million).[23]

Boeing holds several contracts related to the the US long-range nuclear Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM). Boeing currently has contracts valued at over US$ 703.3 million (€ 620 million) for key components for the Minuteman system. One of these contracts includes the development of ‘kill switches’ to cause the missile to self-destruct after launch.[24]

Boeing received a new US$ 26.7 million (€ 23.0 million) contract from the US and UK for Trident II (D5) work in October 2018.[25] This is in addition to existing outstanding contracts for work related to the system valued at over US$ 88.9 million (€ 79.0 million).[26]

Boeing is also producing the tail-kit assembly for the new B61 bombs. More than half of all these bombs are currently deployed by the US in five European countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey). The US$ 185 million (€ 163 million) in contracts will mean the new B61-12 bombs are ready for use by May 2019.[27] It is yet unclear when the new bombs will be delivered to their European locations, other companies are currently modifying the storage facilities in the host countries.

BWX Technologies has a new US$ 76 million (€ 70.8 million) contract for Trident II (D5) components for the US and UK navies.[28] BWXT also got a US$ 505 million (€ 427.5 million) contract to prepare for additional US nuclear materials production for nuclear weapons, this will initially be Tritium production, but there are also plans to produce additional nuclear materials in the near term.[29]

BWXT is also involved in the partnership that oversees the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, including the life extension program of the B61 nuclear bomb[30] and of the W80-1 nuclear warhead for air-launched cruise missiles.[31] The partnership receives US$ 45.5 million (€ 37.6 million) a year for this work.[32]

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory has a US$ 370.2 (€350.5 million) contract, paid by the US and the UK, for work on the Trident II (D5) system.[33] In 2018, Draper got another US & UK funded to US$ 109.5 million (€ 95.9 million) contract for additional work on the Trident system, including hypersonic guidance and support for hypersonic flight experiments, to be concluded by September 2019.[34]

Constructions Industrielles de la Méditerranée is included for the first time as more information on the specifically designed key components for the French nuclear arsenal has become available. CNIM designs and manufactures the submarine launching systems designed for the nuclear-armed M51 missiles.[35]

Fluor is involved at several US nuclear weapons enterprise facilities. Through a joint venture, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) it has an US$ 8 billion (€ 7.1 billion) contract for efforts related to key components for the W88 Alt 370 program, the nuclear warhead deployed on the Trident II (D5).[36]

General Dynamics has a number of contracts related key components for the UK & US Trident II (D5) systems. An initial US$ 30.6 million (€ 28.2 million) contract awarded in 2015 has been modified repeatedly (including five times between November 2017 and December 2018) bringing the total contract value to over US$ 174.4 million (€ 155.6 million).[37]

Another General Dynamics subsidiary, General Dynamics Electric Boat received a maximum dollar value of US$ 46.5 (€ 43.4 million) contract in September 2017 for integration work for United Kingdom Strategic Weapon Support System kit manufacturing for the Columbia class ballistic missile submarines. [38] In 2018 this contract was modified significantly, first in April for US$ 126.2 million (€ 102.4 million),[39] and again for US$ 480.6 million (€ 414 million) in September 2018.[40]

Honeywell International manages and operates the National Security Campus (NSC) (formerly Kansas City Plant), the facility responsible for producing an estimated 85% of the non-nuclear components for US nuclear weapons[41] under a five year US$ 900 million (€ 817.4 million) contract awarded in July 2015.[42] It is also a co-owner of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) which has a US$ 8 billion (€ 7.1 billion) contract for efforts related to key components for the W88 Alt 370 program, the nuclear warhead deployed on the Trident II (D5).[43] Honeywell is also associated with other US nuclear weapons enterprise facilities, including an outstanding US$ 5 billion (€ 4.6 billion) contract[44] for the Nevada National Security Site and a US$ 2.6 billion (€ 2.5 billion) contract for the Sandia National Laboratory. Both facilities are responsible for warhead production, testing, and design. Also, Honeywell received new contracts in 2018 valued at US$ 19.0 million (€ 16.2 million) for the PIGA guidance instrument for the Minuteman III.[45]

Huntington Ingalls Industries took over the management and operations for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2018 with a five-year contracted with an estimated value of US$ 2.5 billion (€ 2.2 billion) annually. [46] Huntington Ingalls Industries will be providing “personnel, systems, tools and corporate reachback in the areas of pit production, plutonium manufacturing, production scale-up and nuclear operations and manufacturing”.[47] Huntington Ingalls Industries is also part of a US$ 5 billion (€ 4.6 billion) contract at the Nevada National Security Site,[48] and the US$ 8 billion (€ 7.1 billion) contract at the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina.[49]

Jacobs Engineering is part of the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment, which currently has a 25-year £ 25.4 billion (€29.6 billion) contract for maintenance of the UK Trident arsenal.[50] Jacobs was also part of the group that took over management and operations of the Nevada National Security Site in 2017 under a 10-year US$ 5 billion (€ 4.6 billion) contract.[51]

Larsen and Toubro are involved in producing key components for the Indian nuclear arsenal. These include the launcher system for the nuclear-capable Prithvi II missile.[52] It is also involved in the Dhanush, the ship-based variant of the Prithvi-II.[53]

Leidos is a minority partner of Consolidated Nuclear Services LLC (CNS), which took over the management and operation of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Pantex Plant in Texas under the same US$ 446 million (€ 326.5 million) contract in 2014. [54] These facilities are involved in producing Tritium for US nuclear weapons as well as the M76/MK4A, W76-2, W80-1 and, W88 warhead modifications. [55]

Leonardo is an Italian company (formerly known as Finmeccanica) involved in the French nuclear arsenal through MBDA-Systems. In contracts from 2016, MBDA began design and development of the mid-life upgrade of the ASMPA to keep it in the French arsenal through 2035. In the 2019 French Ministry of Defence Budget, three deliveries of upgraded ASMPAs are planned after 2019. MBDA is also involved in work on the successor system (ASN4G) which is meant to be operational after 2035.[56]

Lockheed Martin has outstanding Trident II (D5) contracts valued at approximately US$ 6,550.1 million (€5,730.4 million). Of these US$ 918.9 million (€ 801.9) were awarded in between March 2018 and January 2019. Lockheed also has at least US$ 495 million (€ 413.6 million) in outstanding contracts related to the Minuteman III ICBM. It is also involved in a US$ 900 million (€ 764.2 million) research and design contract for the new US the Air Force Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) missile.[57]

Lockheed Martin’s nuclear weapon associated activities aren’t limited to US missile production alone. It is also part of the 25-year £ 25.4 billion (€29.6 billion) contract for the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment.[58]

Moog has developed launch vehicle and strategic missile controls for the Minuteman III and Trident (D5) missiles. [59] Moog is also part of the Boeing team that won a US$ 349.2 million (€ 297.0 million) contract in 2017 for technology maturation and risk reduction activities for the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.[60]

Northrop Grumman is currently handing over responsibilities to BAE Systems as the prime contractor for the Minuteman III ICBM system. This process began in 2013, but there have been repeated ‘bridge’ contracts valued at over US$ 165.0 million (€ 128.3 million)[61], most recently in September 2018. Now the handover process is expected to be complete in April 2019. [62]

Although Northrop Grumman is no longer the prime ICBM contractor, it still has additional US ICBM related contracts including those it took over when it acquired Orbital ATK. These additional contracts were mostly awarded in 2015, with a total value of approximately US$ 1,852.9 million (€ 1,642.9 million).[63] Northrop Grumman, via ATK Launch Systems was also awarded another Minuteman related contract for US$ 86.4 million (€ 74.5 million) in September 2018. [64]

Northrop Grumman is also involved in the Trident II (D5) systems for the US and the UK, with outstanding contracts valued at approximately US$ 531.3 million (€ 493.2 million). Many of these Trident II (D5) related production activities are meant to conclude in 2020.[65]

Northrop Grumman is also connected to the nuclear weapons facilities at the Pantex and Y-12 through at US$ 446 million (€ 326.5 million) contract to the Consolidated Nuclear Services (CNS) joint venture. [66]

Raytheon has an outstanding US$ 33.4 million (€ 24.8 million) contract for work related to the Minuteman III ICBMs. [67] Raytheon is also involved in new nuclear weapons development for the US. It is part of the Boeing team working on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent[68], and in August 2017, Raytheon received a five-year contract for US$ 900 million (€ 764.2 million) for the new Long-Range Standoff weapon. [69]

Safran is a French company and two of their subsidiaries (Snecma and Sagem) are developing key components for the M51 missiles for the French nuclear weapons arsenal.[70] Safran is also part of the joint venture with Dutch company Airbus, responsible for ongoing production and maintenance of the missile system overall. [71] This joint venture is also contracted to carry out the 2019 budgeted tasks of the French Ministry of Defence for three deliveries of upgraded ASMPAs after 2019.[72]

Serco is a UK company involved in management and operations of the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) under 25-year contract (1999 to 2024) valued at £ 25.4 billion (€29.6 billion).[73]

Textron has an outstanding US$ 17.2 million (€ 12.5 million) contract to convert up to six Minuteman III MK 12A re-entry vehicles to the Mod 5F configuration.[74]

According to the French Ministry of Defence, Thales is one of MBDA’s subcontractors supplying medium-range air-to-surface missile ASMPA to the French air force.[75]

United Technologies Corporation acquired Rockwell Collins in November 2018 and renamed it Collins Aerospace Systems.[76] This company has an outstanding US$ 76 million (€ 67 million) contract for the Airborne Launch Control System Replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM missiles.[77]

Walchandnagar Industries Limited produces launching systems for the Indian Agni series of nuclear armed missiles. [78]

 

Last updated 1 May, 2019

The following companies are profiled in the latest report.

Aecom (United States)
Aerojet Rocketdyne (United States)
Airbus Group (The Netherlands)
BAE Systems (United Kingdom)
Bechtel (United States)
Bharat Dynamics Limited (India)
Boeing (United States)

BWX Technologies (United States)
Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (United States)
Constructions Industrielles de la Méditerranée (CNIM) (France)
Fluor (United States)
General Dynamics (United States)
Honeywell International (United States)
Huntington Ingalls Industries (United States)

Jacobs Engineering (United States)
Larsen & Toubro (India)
Leidos (United States)
Leonardo (Italy)
Lockheed Martin (United States)
Moog (United States)
Northrop Grumman (United States

Raytheon (United States)
Safran (France)
Serco (United Kingdom)
Textron (United States)
Thales (France)
United Technologies Corporation (United States)
Walchandnagar Industries (India)

In some nuclear-armed states – in particular the United States, the United Kingdom and France – private companies are hired by governments to carry out work on maintaining and modernising nuclear arsenals.

This report looks at the companies most heavily involved in the nuclear weapon industry. The contracts these companies have with nuclear armed countries are for materials and services to keep nuclear weapons in their arsenals. The companies described are substantially involved in the nuclear weapons programmes of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, or India and are themselves based in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In other nuclear-armed countries –Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea – the maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces is carried out primarily or exclusively by government agencies.

Methodology

The nuclear weapon producers identified were selected on the basis of a predetermined set of criteria.
– Information on investments is publicly available.
– The company is directly involved in the development, testing, production, maintenance or trade of nuclear weapons related technology, parts, products or services.
– The company’s involvement is related to warheads, or to delivery systems such as missiles, that are specifically developed for nuclear tasks. This includes technology that is designed for ‘dual use’ (military and civilian) but excludes technology that is not designed for, but can be used in nuclear warfare. It does not include delivery platforms such as bombers and submarines.

State owned or controlled nuclear industries are outside the scope of this research, as are companies not publicly listed. Our research uncovered a number of Universities involved in nuclear weapons programmes, but these are also outside the scope of the report.

The list of nuclear weapon producers investigated was compiled through a wide variety of sources, including financial institution exclusion lists, civil society reports, media reports, etc. Additional details on the contracts and components is on the website.
We welcome information at any time about possible nuclear weapon producing companies to investigate.