The world's largest military company that provides fighter jets, attack helicopters, and missile systems that the Israeli military uses against Palestinian civilians as well as reconnaissance aircraft used to monitor the US-Mexico border.
Lockheed Martin Corporation is a U.S. military and aerospace company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. It has been the largest military company in the world for more than a decade, from 2009 to 2021. In 2020, the company generated $65.4 billion in revenue, 74% of which was from contracts with the U.S. government and 25% from international customers, including foreign military sales.
In 2020, Lockheed Martin was the largest U.S. government contractor with $75 billion in contractual obligations. From 1997 to 2021, the U.S. government awarded Lockheed Martin contracts worth a combined $660 billion, 84% of which by the Department of Defense.
Weapon Sales to Israel
Lockheed Martin has provided the Israeli military with F-16 fighter jets, Longbow Hellfire missiles, and AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopter parts along with associated training and maintenance. It also supplies C-130 and C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) mobile surface-to-surface rocket launch system, and F-35 fighter jets and associated equipment such as helmet mounted display systems (HMDS). Lockheed Martin also provides the Israeli military with radars, rockets, laser pointers, rocket pods, and fire control and guidance systems.
In a 2010 agreement, worth $2.7 billion, the Israeli government purchased 50 of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, with an estimated completion date of 2022. Lockheed Martin received multiple multi-million dollar FMS contracts related to the U.S. Department of Defense’s continued support of the expansion of Israel’s F-35 fleet in February 2016 and July 2017. In May of 2018, Israel launched the world’s first F-35 air strike on Iranian targets in Syria.
Lockheed Martin’s Operations in Israel and Collaboration with the Israeli Military Industry
Lockheed Martin opened an office in Be’er Sheva, Israel in April 2014. The company also has an office in Tel Aviv. Lockheed Martin has signed Industrial Participation agreements with various Israeli weapons companies including Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit Systems, Cyclone, and Tadiran. As of the end of 2016, these agreements were worth $933 million. In 2017, the Israeli Ministry of Defense Procurement and Production announced that Lockheed Martin had spent over one billion dollars on reciprocal procurement from Israeli defense companies in an active show of support of the Israeli military industry.
Use of Lockheed Martin Weapons in Attacks on Palestinian Civilians
F-16 jets, Apache helicopter systems, Hellfire missiles, and other weapons systems manufactured by Lockheed Martin have been used repeatedly in Israeli attacks on densely populated civilian areas, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. The human rights community, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and United Nations commissions, has ruled these attacks to be human rights violations, collective punishment, and at times war crimes.
Between July 12th and August 14th, 2006, Israel conducted a ground and aerial bombardment of Lebanon that severely damaged civilian infrastructure and killed 1,183 people, of whom approximately one third were children. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, Israeli forces fired on civilians and civilian vehicles from Apache helicopters on numerous occasions. Israeli forces deliberately targeted apartment buildings, villages, plants, bridges, seaports, and other key features of Lebanon’s infrastructure. As a result of Israel’s aerial bombardment, over 1 million people were internally or externally displaced. According to a report published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Israel violated international humanitarian law by failing to take care to prevent civilian casualties during its airstrikes on Lebanese infrastructure.
Israeli forces also used Lockheed Martin’s Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) equipped with cluster munitions in Lebanon. Israel fired up to four million cluster bomb submunitions in 962 airstrikes in 2006 on Southern Lebanon. On average, 25 percent of the bomblets failed to explode, and unexploded submunitions killed at least 192 civilians and 29 deminers within two years of the last Israeli cluster bomb strike. Human Rights Watch stated that Israel’s “indiscriminate and disproportionate” use of cluster bombs in Lebanon in 2006 violated international humanitarian law, and that some of the strikes may constitute war crimes. Cluster bombs have been banned by more than 115 countries due to their inability to discriminate between civilians and combatants. However, Israel has so far refused to sign the treaty banning the munitions.
From December 27th, 2008 to January 18th, 2009, Israel conducted an attack on Gaza it called “Operation Cast Lead” during which Israeli forces used various weapons systems manufactured by Lockheed Martin. According to the UN’s Fact-Finding Mission to the Gaza Conflict, Israel carried out attacks with F-16 aircraft on civilian homes and refugee camps. Missiles fired from Apache helicopters targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure on numerous occasions over the course of the assault. A report by Amnesty International found that Israeli forces used Hellfire missiles produced by Lockheed Martin in their repeated attacks upon clearly marked ambulances and paramedics in uniform. Of the 1,394 Palestinians killed in the “Cast Lead” attacks, 345 were minors. The assault injured over 5,300 people and killed 1,383 Palestinians, of whom 333 were children. Israeli forces destroyed the homes of over 3,400 Palestinian families and left thousands of civilians homeless and physically impaired. According to a report published by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilian objects and failed to take every possible precaution to minimize civilian casualties, thereby violating customary international law.
In 2014, Israel conducted an attack on Gaza called “Operation Protective Edge” that killed 2,251 Palestinians, of whom 1,462 were civilians and 551 were children. Israeli forces used numerous weapons systems manufactured by Lockheed Martin throughout the assault on Gaza. According to a report by Amnesty International, Israel used F-16 aircraft and Apache helicopters during the 2014 assault, including in an attack on Rafah on August 1 and in an attack on Al Shati Refugee camp. Defense for Children International documented at least 13 children killed by missiles fired directly from Apache helicopters in its report on Protective Edge. The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reported that approximately 47% of civilians killed during “Operation Protective Edge” were killed by warplanes including the F-16. Israeli forces conducted over 6,000 airstrikes in Gaza and damaged or destroyed 18,000 housing units, 73 medical facilities, and many ambulances. As a result of the attack, over 1,500 Palestinian children were orphaned and 11,231 people were injured, of whom 3,436 were children. According to a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Israeli forces may have violated international human rights law and committed war crimes on numerous occasions because of their apparent disregard for the preservation of civilian life.
F-16 aircraft were repeatedly used in 2018 to conduct airstrikes in Gaza, resulting in civilian deaths. In February, Israeli missiles launched from F-16 warplanes killed two 17-year-old Palestinian teenagers during six extensive airstrikes, the largest assault since Operation Protective Edge. The attacks wounded two more Palestinians and damaged civilian homes. In July, Israeli forces used F-16 aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial drones to launch about 85 missiles at the Gaza Strip, killing two children and injuring 28 people. The attack damaged residential homes and partially damaged or destroyed numerous ambulances and trucks transporting medical supplies.
Monitoring the US-Mexico Border and Beyond
From 2005 to 2021, Lockheed Martin signed almost 3,000 contracts with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) worth at least $4.8 billion, 70% of which were awarded by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA). The company was highlighted as one of the fourteen main border security companies in a 2019 report published by the Transnational Institute and No Más Muertes.
Lockheed Martin provides CBP with its P-3 Orion Airborne Early Warning reconnaissance planes, along with maintenance and upgrades for them. CBP uses P-3 aircraft to "intercept and track both aircrafts and vessels for hours at a time while maintaining a covert standoff." They patrol what CBP calls the "extended border," which covers "a 42 million-square-mile area that includes more than 41 nations, the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States."
CBP has used P-3 aircraft at least since 2008 and has a fleet of 14 such aircraft as of 2016. In 2020, it awarded Lockheed Martin a $63 million contract to provide maintenance to its existing P-3 fleet. From 2008 to 2020, CBP spent at least $818 million in contracts related to the P-3 aircraft acquisition, parts, and maintenance.
In addition to P-3 planes, CBP uses Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Sikorsky S-76 helicopters. Sikorsky has been a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin since 2015. CBP added the Black Hawk helicopter, which is considered one of the most deadly helicopters, in 2009. In 2020, CBP awarded Sikorsky another contract worth a potential $3.8 million for "field service representative and travel," related to its helicopters.
Beyond aircraft, Lockheed Martin provides CBP with data processing services to "digitally capture, store and retrieve document images, the ability to electronically transcribe documents into formatted and edited data files that will be transmitted and successfully processed into TECS." CBP uses its TECS database to "decrease[e] the probability of granting access to terrorists, smugglers, or others deemed inadmissible." TECS is a data repository of observations made by CBP agents to "support law enforcement 'lookouts,' border screening, and reporting for CBP's primary and secondary inspection processes."
In 2016, DHS awarded Lockheed Martin a $395 million contract to update its security operations center, which "conducts vulnerability assessments, analyzes cyber threats, monitors the Department email gateway, and collects information on and investigates and reports on all confirmed or suspected security incidents." Following the 2016 merger of Lockheed Martin's IT division with Leidos, the contract is no longer with Lockheed Martin.
From 1999 to September 2021, Lockheed Martin spent $493.6 million in lobbying expenses in the U.S. on issues including tax matters impacting Lockheed Martin, the defense budget, Army missile defense, aerospace, and cybersecurity, among over 1,700 different issues. In addition to lobbying, the company's employee political action committee (PAC) spent $35 million in campaign contributions from 1995 to September 2021. It has donated to both Republican and Democratic parties through direct contributions and other PACs.
Lockheed Martin has close ties to the U.S. military. Since 2007, it has hired 43 former officials from the Department of Defense. Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is now on the Lockheed Martin board of directors.
In February 2021, the University of California Irvine student government passed a resolution calling on the University of California to divest from companies complicit in Israeli apartheid. The companies named on the resolution included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Caterpillar, Ford, Hyundai, Cemex, Raytheon, 3M, Northrop Grumman, Perrigo Company, Atlas Copco, and Blackrock.
In Feburary 2021, the University of California Irvine student government passed a resolution (19 to 3) calling on the University of California to divest from companies complicit in Israeli apartheid. The companies named on the resolution included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Caterpillar, Ford, Hyundai, Cemex, Raytheon, 3M, Northrop Grumman, Perrigo Company, Atlas Copco, and Blackrock.
- In September 2020, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's student government passed a resolution divesting from companies partaking in human rights violations against the Palestinian people, including Lockheed-Martin. This resolution was first brought to the student government in February. The student senate resolution, originally titled “Violations of Human Rights in University Investments”, passed with a large margin on February 13, but was vetoed a few days later by the Student Government President after backlash from “pro-Israel” groups.
- In December 2019, the Brown University Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Practices passed a recommendation that the University divest from companies facilitating human rights abuses in Palestine including Lockheed-Martin.
- On March 3, 2019 the Swarthmore Student Government Organization passed a resolution calling on "Swarthmore College and its Board of Managers to implement a screen on investments in companies involved in repeated, well-documented, and severe violations of international human rights law in Israel / Palestine, including...Lockheed Martin Corp."
- On April 18, 2018, Barnard College Student Government Association passed a referendum calling for the university to divest from eight companies profiting from Israel's occupation of Palestine. The companies listed include Hyundai, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Elbit Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Bank Hapoalim.
- On June 12, 2017, Swedish Bank SEB added Lockheed Martin in its no-buy-list. The bank declared that it is removing from all its funds forty companies "that violate international standards for the environment, corruption, human rights and labor law." The bank had previously stopped investing in companies involved in nuclear programs and in coal production.
- On April 26, 2017, University of Wisconsin-Madison students passed a resolution to call for the university's divestment from private prisons and corporations that build border walls, naming Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, Suntrust, US Bank Corp., and Wells Fargo.
- On April 12, 2016, the College Council of the University of Chicago passed a resolution to Divest University funds from apartheid, urging the university “ to withdraw, within the bounds of their fiduciary duty, investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in companies profiting from human rights abuses and violations of international law in Palestine, including, Lockheed Martin."
- The Undergraduate Student Government Assembly at University of Illinois-Chicago unanimously voted on Februrary 16, 2016, to pass a resolution to divest from corporations profitting off the Israeli occupation and other human rights violations, including Lockheed Martin.
- On January 19, 2016, a landslide vote by the University of South Florida student senate passed a joint resolution to divest from corporations who profit from "illegal and brutal occupation" in Palestine, including Lockheed Martin. The resolution was later vetoed by the student government president.
- In November 2015, the University of California Santa Cruz student government reinstated a divestment resolution against Lockheed Martin that had originally passed in 2014, but was suspended pending an appeals process. The resolution calls on the university to drop its investments in any company that "profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestine."
- In May 2015 the Olgethorpe University Student Senate passed a resolution to divest from Lockheed Martin “based on evidence of their active role in human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
- Stanford University students passed a resolution in February 2015, urging divestment from Lockheed Martin, among other “companies implicated in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, many of which facilitate parallel injury against communities of color here in the United States.”
- Northwestern University students voted to divest from Lockheed Martin in February 2015, citing its provision of fighter jets and missiles to the Israeli Air Force.
- In February 2015 the University of California Student Association, the official governing assembly of all University of California students, passed a resolution calling for the university to divest from companies “that violate Palestinian human rights,” specifically mentioning Lockheed Martin.
- Students at UC Los Angeles passed a resolution to divest from Lockheed Martin in November 2014, stating Lockheed Martin “provide[s] weapons used in attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.”
- Students at UC Santa Cruz, in 2014, voted to divest from Lockheed, stating that it “provides the IDF with AH64 Apache parts and F16 fighter jets along with associated training, maintenance and parts.”
- A 2014 referendum passed by students at DePaul University decreed that Lockheed “profit[s] from Israel's violation of the human rights of Palestinians and minorities within Israel.”
- Canada’s York University Graduate Student Association voted in 2012 to divest from Lockheed Martin, citing its role in “Israeli human rights violations, war crimes and oppression.”
- The University of Michigan Dearborn's student council passed a divestment resolution in 2010, citing “...[sale of] weapons, goods, and services to Israel.
- In 2005 and 2006, the University of Michigan at Dearborn passed resolutions urging divestment from Lockheed, citing the company’s “support and benefit from the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation.”