I'm not saying it's right, but the US is a poor comparison.
Defence industries are feather bedded over there, and they're not subject to EU tendering and competition rules.
The reason Spain does so well is partly because of its tax regimes. Its government at times defies the EU and gives tax incentives to companies, while charging UK investors in Spanish companies (e.g. Santander, O2) high withholding tax.
A level playing field would be nice