James and John Martin and family
Ejection seats
Rank 2017
More than 70,000 Martin-Baker ejector seats have been delivered to 93 air forces worldwide, saving more than 7,500 lives since 1949 after the company perfected live ejection tests. The operation, which has won 11 Queen's awards, is run by its co-founder’s twin sons John and James, 74. It says the time between triggering ejection to the deployment of a parachute is less than a second, with pilots under 15G of force. Profits at the Uxbridge firm reached a record £71.8m on £241.6m sales in 2015-16, and with £237.7m net assets it is worth £600m. Dividends, including one of £41.4m last year, and other interests add £130m.