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The aerospace and defense industries are those companies that produce and distribute aircraft and spacecraft for military and civilian use, as well as the manufacturers of military equipment, vehicles, and weapons, including missiles and explosive devices.

However, it does not include companies that produce, sell, or distribute guns and ammunition for hunting and recreational use. It does not include companies that conduct non-aviation commercial services at airports, such as restaurants and shops.

The aerospace and defense industries are massive worldwide, and the aerospace sector is one of the fastest-growing markets on the international stage, with the defense-related aerospace industry outgrowing commercial aircraft manufacture and sales. The defense aerospace industry has a notable advantage over its commercial counterpart. Significant unrest across the world has spurred world powers to invest heavily in the global aerospace and defense sectors, regardless of economic concerns. Nevertheless, commercial aircraft revenues have not declined, but have continued to grow, albeit at a slower rate, and encumbered by major production delays.

Aerospace is used to refer to that within and without the atmosphere, so aerospace engineering consists of aeronautics as well as astronautics. The aerospace industry includes organizations that research, design, manufacture, operate, and maintain both aircraft and spacecraft. In most industrial nations, the aerospace industry includes both the public and private sectors, with defense contractors producing aircraft for civilian and military markets.

Until recently, the manufacture and implementation of spacecraft were accomplished through governmental agencies. However, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. As a private spacecraft manufacturer, launcher, and satellite communications corporation, the company produces launch vehicles, rocket engines, spacecraft, and communications satellites, and has the stated goal of enabling the colonization of Mars. Unlike Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos in 2000, SpaceX is privately funded.

Other companies involved in space programs include Airbus, Boeing, Cobham, Lockheed Martin, MDA, Northrop Grumman, and United Technologies.

Aerospace production is a high-technology industry that builds aircraft, aircraft engines, propulsion units, missiles, space vehicles, and related parts and accessories. Usually, the industry serves governments around the world. In the United States, the largest consumers of aerospace products are the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In the European Union, BAE Systems, Dassault, EADS, Saab AB, and Thales are big players in the aerospace industry, while the European Space Agency is the largest consumer. In Russia, Oboronprom and the United Aircraft Building Corporation serve the aerospace needs of the Russian government. China has developed an extensive capability of designing, testing, and producing military aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft.

The defense industry (arms industry, arms trade, military industry) is made up of public and private sector firms manufacturing and selling military weapons and technology, including munitions, weapons platforms, communications equipment, and other electronics.

Worldwide, the largest exporters are the United States, Russia, France, Germany, and China, while the largest importers are Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, and Algeria.

Illegal trade in military equipment occurs in several countries and regions of the world, particularly those in which there is substantial political instability.

A driving force in the relationships between the military and the corporations contracted by the military is one in which both sides benefit, one by obtaining the weaponry, and the other by being paid generously to supply them. In his farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of this relationship, referring to it as the military-industrial complex.

The various sectors of the arms industry include land-based weapons, which may include everything from light arms to heavy artillery, such as handguns, machine guns, tanks, and armored personnel carriers. Aerospace systems include military aircraft, conventional missiles, and military satellites, while naval systems include aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and anti-air defense systems. Major weapons manufacturers include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, and General Dynamics.

In recent years, cybersecurity has become an increasingly significant facet of the defense industry, with cyber-attacks being considered one of the greatest risks. While a public focus on cyber-security is advanced, many governments also invest in cyber-attacking technology, as well.



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