BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security, and aerospace company. Its headquarters are in London in the United Kingdom and it has operations worldwide. It is among the world's largest defence companies; it was ranked as the third-largest based on applicable 2015 revenues. Its largest operations are in the United Kingdom and United States, where its BAE Systems Inc. subsidiary is one of the six largest suppliers to the US Department of Defense. Other major markets include Australia, India, and Saudi Arabia, which account for about 20% of BAE's overall sales. It is the biggest manufacturer in Britain. The company was formed on 30 November 1999 by the £7.7 billion merger of two British companies: Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) – the defence electronics and naval shipbuilding subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc (GEC) – and British Aerospace (BAe) – an aircraft, munitions and naval systems manufacturer.
BAE Systems is the successor to various aircraft, shipbuilding, armoured vehicle, armaments and defence electronics companies, including the Marconi Company, the first commercial company devoted to the development and use of radio; A.V. Roe and Company, one of the world's first aircraft companies; de Havilland, manufacturer of the Comet, the world's first commercial jet airliner; British Aircraft Corporation, co-manufacturer of Concorde supersonic transport; Supermarine, manufacturer of the Spitfire; Yarrow Shipbuilders, builder of the Royal Navy's first destroyers; Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, pioneer of the triple-expansion engine and builder of the world's first battlecruiser; and Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering, builder of the Royal Navy's first submarines. Since its formation it has made a number of acquisitions, most notably of United Defense and Armor Holdings of the United States, and sold its shares in Airbus, Astrium, AMS and Atlas Elektronik.
BAE Systems is involved in several major defence projects, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Astute-class submarine and the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. BAE Systems is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
BAE Systems was formed on 30 November 1999 by the £7.7 billion merger of British Aerospace (BAe) and Marconi Electronic Systems (MES). As a result, BAE Systems is the successor to many of the most famous British aircraft, defence electronics and warship manufacturers. Predecessor companies built the Comet, the world's first commercial jet airliner; the Harrier "jump jet", the world's first operational Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft; the "groundbreaking" Blue Vixen radar carried by Sea Harrier FA2s and which formed the basis of the Eurofighter's CAPTOR radar; and co-produced the iconic Concorde supersonic airliner with Aérospatiale.
British Aerospace was a civil and military aircraft manufacturer, as well as a provider of military land systems. The company had emerged from the massive consolidation of UK aircraft manufacturers since World War II. British Aerospace was formed on 29 April 1977 by the nationalisation and merger of The British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), the Hawker Siddeley Group and Scottish Aviation. Both BAC and Hawker Siddeley were themselves the result of various mergers and acquisitions.