WASHINGTON _ If it flies and carries U.S. military markings, chances are Boeing Co. had a hand in building it.
Air travelers may think of Boeing as the company that built the 747 jumbo jet, but in Washington, and more specifically at the Pentagon, Boeing means defense contracting.
Nearly every flying weapons system in the U.S. arsenal, from the venerable B-52 bomber to the futuristic F-22 fighter, comes in whole or in part from Boeing. At plants from Philadelphia to St. Louis to Seal Beach, Calif., Boeing workers are building helicopters, jet fighters, transport planes and rockets that represent a healthy slice of the annual defense spending pie.
Last year the Pentagon paid Boeing $12 billion for its defense contracting work, second only to Lockheed Martin Corp. in the hierarchy of weapons makers.