The world's second-largest military company, which manufactures missiles, bombs, components for fighter jets, and other weapon systems used by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians. Its surveillance technology is also used to monitor the U.S.-Mexico border.
Raytheon Technologies Corp, headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia, designs, manufactures, and sells military weapons and equipment, including combat aircraft, avionics, missiles, bombs, battlefield fighting vehicles, and cybersecurity systems. It was formed in 2020 as a merger of Raytheon Company and United Technologies Corporation. The merger made it the world's second-largest military company, with $64.4 billion in revenue as of 2022, 96% of which derives from its defense sector. Among its notable subsidiaries are Collins Aerospace Systems and aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.
The company has long supplied U.S. and international militaries with weapon systems and equipment. Between 2008 and 2021, it signed contracts worth $52 billion with the Department of Defense (DOD). Additionally, the company was one of the top contractors of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the agency's efforts to erect a "smart/virtual" wall on the U.S.-Mexico border between 2005 and 2019 (see below for more details).
Weapons Used Against Palestinian Civilians
Raytheon supplies the Israeli government with a wide variety of weapons, including various missiles and bombs. Raytheon technologies are also integrated into Israel's main weapon systems, including fighter jets, military drones, and warships. These weapons are often gifted to Israel through the U.S. government's Foreign Military Financing program.
For years, these weapons have repeatedly been used against Palestinian civilians, resulting in numerous casualties as well as mass destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and water and electric systems. These attacks include war crimes that Israel has committed during several major military offensives against the Gaza Strip, which has been illegally blockaded since 2007:
- 2022 ("Operation Breaking Dawn"): Within three days of an unprovoked offensive, Israel killed at least 33 Palestinians, including 17 civilians. Evidence of war crimes was recorded by Amnesty International.
- 2021 ("Operation Guardian of the Walls"): During this assault, Israel killed at least 261 Palestinians, including 67 children and 41 women. At least half of these fatalities were civilians, and more than 2,200 additional Palestinians were injured. Evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity was published by Palestinian human rights organizations Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights; Amnesty International; and Human Rights Watch. The International Criminal Court announced that it will examine these cases.
- 2014 ("Operation Protective Edge"): During this 50-day assault, Israel killed at least 2,131 Palestinians, at least 1,473 of whom were civilians, including 501 children and 257 women. at least 11,100 Palestinians were wounded, including 3,374 children. Evidence of war crimes was published by Palestinian human rights organizations Al-Haq and Al-Mezan; Israeli organization B'Tselem; Amnesty International; and Human Rights Watch.
- 2012 ("Operation Pillar of Defense"): Israel killed 174 Palestinians, 101 of whom were civilians, including 33 children and 13 women. Evidence of Israeli war crimes was published by the UN, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
- 2008–2009 ("Operation Cast Lead"): During this 22-day assault, Israel killed at least 1,385 Palestinians, including at least 308 children, and wounded at least 5,000 more. The majority of casualties were civilians. Evidence of war crimes was published by the UN's Fact-Finding Mission, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
Missiles and Bombs
In its frequent military offensives against Gaza, the Israeli military uses Raytheon's 5,000-pound GBU-28 "bunker buster" and laser-guided Paveway bombs, as well as AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, AIM-9X missiles, AIM-120 Sidewinder missiles, and TWO long-range missiles. These missiles and bombs are typically fired or dropped by the Israeli Air Force's F-16 and F-35 fighter jets.
For example, Raytheon's GBU-28 bombs were reportedly used by the Israeli Air Force during the 2022 assault on Gaza. Israel also extensively used TOW missiles during its 2008–2009 assault on Gaza. Human Rights Watch documented numerous TOW missiles and missile parts in the aftermath of the attacks. Also in 2009, Amnesty International documented fragments of an unspecified 500-pound bomb with markings that indicate it was made by Raytheon.
In 2014, Amnesty International documented bomb fragments "of the Paveway type" at the site of an Israeli attack on Gaza. during the same assault, a Paveway bomb was documented targeting a block of buildings in Gaza City. While Raytheon makes Paveway bombs, they are also made by Lockheed Martin. It is unclear which company made these specific bombs.
Raytheon supplied the Israeli government with at least 150 GBU-28 bombs between 2006 and 2009 and 1,200 Paveway bombs between 2004 and 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This is likely an undercount, as the U.S. State Department approved, in 2015, a $1.8 billion sale of 2,200 Paveway bomb kits and other weapons to Israel.
Raytheon also provided the Israeli government with at least 8,188 TOW, 1,360 AGM-65 Maverick, 4,842 Sidewinder, and 154 AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, according to SIPRI. U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contracts show that the U.S. government provided missile components to Israel in, for example, June 2021, July 2020, and April 2019. In March 2020, May and April 2019, and December 2018, Raytheon provided the Israeli government with AIM-9X missiles.
Warplanes: F-15, F-16, F-35
Raytheon provides weapon systems, components, and maintenance services to the Israeli Air Force's fleet of F-15, F-16, and F-35 fighter jets. for example, the company and its subsidiary Pratt & Whitney have provided F100 engines—the "engine of choice" for F-15 and F-16 aircraft—and APG-82(V)1 radars. Through 2030, Pratt & Whitney will provide Israel with repair management and other services for its F-15 and F-16 aircraft.
Since the 1970s, the F-16 has been the Israeli Air Force's "most important fighter jet" and has been used by the Israeli military in all of its major assaults on Gaza. For example, during the 2021 offensive, F-16s were described as the "mainstay of the bombardment." They were documented, for example, bombing Gaza City's Rimal neighborhood, as well as residential buildings and the offices of news organizations, including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. In the 2008–2009 assault, Israeli F-16s targeted civilians, civilian homes, and refugee camps. The attacks killed numerous Palestinians, including 22 members of a single family, 12 of whom were children under the age of 10.
Raytheon boasts that it "makes much of what goes in and on" F-35 fighter jets, the most advanced warplane used by the Israeli Air Force. Raytheon manufactures the aircraft's engines through its subsidiary Pratt & Whitney and makes parts of the warplane's sensor and navigation systems. Raytheon subsidiary Collins Aerospace has a joint venture with Elbit Systems through which it develops display systems for the F-35. In addition, Raytheon markets its AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles for use on the F-35.
In 2018, Israel became the first country in the world to launch an airstrike using F-35I fighter jets, a heavily modified version of the F-35. Since then, the Israeli Air Force has used the aircraft during airstrikes in and around Gaza. For example, during its 2021 assault, it deployed 80 fighter jets, including the F-35I, to carry out "waves of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip."
Pratt & Whitney manufactures engines for at least eight other aircraft operated by the Israeli Air Force, including two of Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) flagship drones, the Eitan (also known as the Heron TP) and the Shoval. Israel uses these drones in airstrikes, surveillance, intelligence gathering, and target acquisition. In its 2014 offensive on Gaza, Israel used these drones extensively.
Israeli drones have killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians between 2004 and 2014, as documented by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. During Israel's 2021 assault on Gaza, the Israeli Air Force used drones to fire missiles at civilian buildings and farmland, resulting in the deaths of at least two civilians and the destruction of residential homes, businesses, medical clinics, and media offices.
Raytheon's Phalanx weapon system, a rapid-fire, radar-guided gun, is installed on the Israeli Navy's 4.5 Sa'ar missile ships, which are used to enforce Israel's illegal naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Gazan fishermen, who are restricted by Israel to severely limited fishing areas—reported being fired at by the Israeli Navy on an almost-daily basis.
Raytheon's Phalanx system also serves as a secondary weapon on Israel's Sa'ar 5 missile ship. In 2010, the Israeli Navy used a Sa'ar 5 missile ship in its assault on the Mavi Marmara—or Free Gaza Flotilla—an unarmed Turkish aid ship that was attempting to deliver supplies to Gaza. In what the International Criminal Court has labeled as probable war crimes, Israeli commandos raided the ship in international waters, killing nine activists.
Surveillance of the US-Mexico Border
Raytheon has been one of the main contractors of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It was highlighted as one of 14 "giants in the border security business" in a 2019 report by the Transnational Institute and No más Muertes. Between 2005 and 2021, the company held contracts worth $67.9 million with CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for tracking and monitoring devices, satellites, ground sensors, surveillance and radar systems for maritime drones, and other technologies.
Two Raytheon systems are installed in CBP's Guardian Predator B, a maritime variation of General Atomics' MQ-9 Reaper drone. One of the systems, the MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System, is the same technology that is used to guide munitions in killer drones. Although CBP has yet to arm its drones, it has previously considered adding "non-lethal" weapons to its Predator drones in order to "immobilize" people trying to cross the border. In 2013, CBP stated that it did not have plans to arm drones and was using Raytheon's technology only to perform "surveillance and reconnaissance."
The second Raytheon system installed in CBP's Guardian drones is the SeaVue marine search radar, which allows CBP agents to "spot small targets" at sea. The SeaVue system is also installed in CBP's fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion and Bombardier DHC-8 (Dash-8) planes. CBP acquired at least $33 million of SeaVue radars from Raytheon between 2010 and 2015. In 2023, CBP's budget will include a $10 million increase for its drone program and its continuity of "SeaVue usage."
In addition to patrolling U.S. borders, CBP's aircraft fleet has also been used to assist local law enforcement agencies, including in monitoring civilian protests. In 2020, the Department of Homeland Security deployed its helicopters, airplanes, and drones over at least 15 U.S. cities during protests following the murder of George Floyd. A CBP Predator drone was flown, for example, over Minneapolis. These aircraft logged at least 270 hours of surveillance. Out of 92,800 hours of flight logged by CBP's Air and Marine Operations in 2020, 8,000 hours were spent responding to requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies around the country.
Raytheon also had one major contract with ICE from 2011 to 2013. ICE awarded Raytheon a $45 million contract to develop its Investigative Case Management (ICM) system and allow the agency to collect data and share information across more than 100 databases with local law enforcement agencies in order to surveil, track, report, and detain undocumented people. ICE terminated the contract with Raytheon in 2013 due to delays and hired the software company Palantir to complete the ICM system, which has become the "engine" of the U.S. deportation and detention machine and is critical to ICE's functioning.
Pain/Heat Ray Less-Lethal Weapon
Raytheon's Active Denial System (ADS), nicknamed the "pain ray," was developed for the U.S. Department of Defense for use in Afghanistan and Iraq. A less-lethal directed energy weapon, the pain ray emits targeted radiation that penetrates under the skin and causes an intense burning sensation. According to Physicians for Human Rights, use of the weapon is "disproportionate by design" and introduces "very serious concerns about prolonged exposure, the risk of cellular damage and high degree burns, and the potential for abuse." Since 2010, Raytheon has marketed the ADS, as well as a smaller mobile version called the Silent Guardian, to non-military prison, police, and security authorities.
Raytheon first sold a Silent Guardian weapon, to the Los Angeles County Jail, in 2010. According to the ACLU, introducing this weapon created "a wholly unjustified risk that detainees [would] be needlessly subjected to excessive force -- indeed, a use of force tantamount to torture." In 2013, the company was sued by a man incarcerated at the Los Angeles County Jail who suffered from serious burns and long-term health complications after sheriff's deputies shot him with a Raytheon heat ray weapon.
While there is no evidence of current use of this weapon against civilians, law enforcement has still considered it to be a viable option for use in border policing and crowd-control. In 2018, CBP officials suggested deploying it to prevent asylum seekers from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2020, a lead military police officer attempted to secure the weapon to disperse protests in Washington, DC, following the police murder of George Floyd. In both cases, the weapon was not ultimately deployed.
Raytheon is a major supplier of weapons to the Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates–led coalition, which has waged an ongoing war on Yemen. Between 2015 and 2020, Raytheon sold more than $5 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and its partners, including more than 120,000 bombs and bomb parts worth more than $3 billion. In 2015, the year the war on Yemen began, the U.S. government authorized the sale of 6,120 Raytheon Paveway guided bombs to Saudi Arabia. In 2019, President Trump bypassed Congress and authorized further sales of the bombs to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Raytheon's Paveway bombs have routinely targeted civilians in airstrikes in Yemen. For example, in 2019, Amnesty International identified remnants of a Raytheon GBU-12 Paveway II bomb that was used in an attack on a Yemeni village that resulted in the deaths of six civilians, including three children. In 2017, a Raytheon Paveway bomb struck multiple homes in Faj Attan, a residential neighborhood in the city of San'a, killing a family of eight, including six children between the ages of 2 and 10. In 2016, Human Rights Watch found remnants of a Raytheon Paveway II bomb at the site of airstrikes in Arhab, which killed at least 31 civilians, including three children, and injured 42 others. In 2019, the European Court on Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Yemeni human rights organization Mwatana asked the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes committed using Raytheon Paveway IV bombs.
Saudi Arabia's fleet of warplanes also includes major components manufactured by Raytheon. Raytheon's F100 engines, for example, are installed in the Royal Saudi Air Force's F-35 fighter jets. The company has also provided Saudi Arabia with various military support services, including combat aircraft maintenance and inspections, F-15 avionic systems maintenance, and fighter pilot training, according to Amnesty International.
In 2017, Raytheon strengthened its ties with the Saudi Arabian government by establishing Raytheon Saudi Arabia, a defense, aerospace, and cybersecurity company based in Riyadh, "that supports the Kingdom's military." Also in 2017, Raytheon formed Raytheon Emirates, a new aerospace and defense subsidiary based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. These subsidiaries are the only two Raytheon Missile & Defense subsidiaries located outside of the U.S.
- 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 Elbit Systems Ltd. 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 Northrop Grumman Corp.
- On April 26, 2017, University of Wisconsin-Madison students passed a resolution calling on the university to divest 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, Raytheon."
- On March 1, 2016, the University College London Union voted to support the BDS campaign, stating that the student union will “not have any commercial or investment relationship with companies that participate in Israeli violations of international law, including G4S, Veolia, HP and military companies that supply Israel such as BAE Systems and Raytheon.”
- In May 2015 the Olgethorpe University Student Senate passed a resolution to divest from Raytheon “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 Raytheon, among other “companies implicated in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, many of which facilitate parallel injury against communities of color here in the United States.”
- 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 Raytheon.
- In January 2015 the UC Davis student senate passed a divestment resolution urging the university to drop investments in Raytheon because it “supplies the Israeli Air Force with guided air-to-serface missiles . . . used in attacks against civilian populations in Palestine.” The bill was later repealed based on constitutional technicality.
- Students at UC Los Angeles passed a resolution to divest from Raytheon in November 2014, stating Raytheon “provide[s] weapons used in attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.”
- UC Riverside’s student government passed a resolution in the spring of 2014, stating that Raytheon makes “guided missiles [that] were used to ruthlessly level civilian dense regions during Operation Cast Lead”
- Loyola University in Chicago passed a 2014 divestment resolution that stated Raytheon “play[s] active roles in the human rights abuses committed by the Israeli Government.”
- In November of 2012, the Associated Students at UC Irvine voted unanimously to divest from Raytheon over its missiles that “leveled civilian dense regions during Operation Cast Lead.”
- The University of Michigan at Dearborn’s student council passed a divestment resolution in 2010, citing Raytheon’s “[sale of] weapons, goods, and services to Israel.
- In 2005 and 2006, the student council at University of Michigan at Dearborn also passed resolutions urging divestment from Raytheon, citing the company’s “support and benefit from the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation.”