Raytheon is the fifth-largest military contractor in the world and the fourth largest defense contractor in the United States by revenue. It has around 72,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of approximately US$25 billion. More than 90% of Raytheon's revenues are obtained from military contracts. The company was founded in 1922 as the American Appliance Company by Laurence K. Marshall, Charles G. Smith, and Vannevar Bush, and adopted its present name in 1959.
Raytheon is the world's largest producer of missiles, including the Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, Maverick air-to-ground missiles, Patriot surface-to-air missiles, Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missiles, and 'bunker busters' which contain depleted uranium. At the end of 2007 it had a $30 billion federal contract backlog. One of Raytheon's more secretive subsidiaries is E-Systems, whose major client has historically been the CIA, which relied extensively on the company for the technology used in Operation Condor during the 1970s to support totalitarian governments and take control of drug trafficking networks in South America. In August 2010, the company announced that it had partnered with a jail in Castaic, California in order to use prisoners as test subjects for a new non-lethal weapon system that "fires an invisible heat beam capable of causing unbearable pain."
Raytheon's seven core business areas are:
- Integrated Defense Systems
- Intelligence & Information Systems
- Missile Systems
- Network Centric Systems
- Space & Airborne Systems
- Raytheon Technical Services Company
- Homeland Security