#3 General Dynamics Land Systems

2014 Rank: #4


General Dynamics’s various Canadian subsidiaries together form the country’s largest defence contractor, by far, in headcount terms. This year, its Ontario-based General Dynamics Land Systems unit, which develops, manufactures and supports the Royal Canadian Army’s Light Armoured Vehicles, one of its backbone pieces of kit, gets our nod for the number three spot on the Top Ten list.

Two recent trends have significantly improved GDLS’s outlook going forward. The first consists of continued momentum stemming from its inking early last year of a large light armoured vehicle export contract with Saudi Arabia, which could reportedly generate as much as $13 billion in revenues over the life of the deal.

Those vehicles could prove increasingly important in the wake of the Arab kingdom’s recent launch of military strikes against neighbouring Yemen, in support of one of the factions fighting for power. While GDLS officials have been quiet about the Saudi Arabian deal’s currency provisions, if the sales were priced in US dollars (as is often the case in such transactions) the company would be poised to generate huge windfall gains stemming from the loony’s recent decline, as GDLS’s local labour costs are priced in Canadian dollars.

That said, according to Doug-Wilson Hodge, General Dynamics Land Systems’ manager (corporate affairs), the company’s value to Canada’s defence industry, extends far beyond the “metal banging” inherent in producing, maintaining and overhauling land vehicles. “Our more than 650 engineers develop life-saving Canadian intellectual property such as our double-V hull technology,” says Wilson-Hodge. “With approximately 85% of our sales coming from exports, we are proud to have a supply chain of more than 500 suppliers in all regions of Canada.”

Wilson-Hodge also cites a recent export contract that GDLS inked with the Peruvian Ministry of Defence and Canada’s announcement of a LAV reconnaissance surveillance suite upgrade program as good momentum drivers for the coming year.

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