Missile sales have become the No. 2 defense export in the U.S., according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. And a handful of U.S. companies dominate production.
Like with aircraft, missile sales are based on international alliances and treaties. And these sales can become hot-button issues, like a recent sales proposal of Boeing’s Harpoon missiles to Taiwan, or a failed bid to sell the Patriot missile system produced by Raytheon to Turkey.
As defense technology becomes more advanced, cheaper alternatives like smaller guided missiles and loitering munitions could change the dynamic on the battlefield.
“We’ve we’ve entered a kind of new missile age,” said Tom Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Watch the video above to find out how the U.S. missile business works, how much money it makes for American defense contractors, and what’s next for the future of the industry.