News story

Defence exports largest increase in 5 years

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British defence exports rose by 62% in 2012 – the largest increase for 5 years.

New figures published today by UK Trade & Investment’s Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) show that UK defence exports totalled £8.8 billion over the past year, a rise of 62% from 2011 in a global market that grew by 45%.

These results mean the UK maintains its position as the second most successful defence exporter after the United States. As in 2011, the UK continues to benefit from a strong defence supply chain, which contributed to the success in 2012.

Orders contributing to the strong results included Typhoon and Hawk aircraft. The Typhoon programme alone supports an estimated 8,600 jobs in the UK, across companies including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and SELEX Galileo and their supply chains – with an estimated further 1,500 jobs dependent on export opportunities.

Visitors at BAE Systems exhibition stand
BAE Systems stand at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition 2013 [Picture: © Geoffrey Lee]

Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence, Equipment Support and Technology said:

This is welcome news for the UK Defence Industry, and demonstrates that they remain world leaders in an increasingly competitive global market place.

The Ministry of Defence has continued to play a key supporting role in the promotion of defence equipment and services, recognising that defence exports make a significant contribution to the government’s growth agenda.

These results also demonstrate the high regard in which our Armed Forces, and the equipment they use, are held by our allies and partner nations overseas.

Hawk manufacture (library image)
Hawk manufacture (library image) [Picture: Copyright © 2013 BAE Systems. All rights reserved]

The UK continues to capture 20% of the global defence export market. Maintaining this level and growing security exports to 5% by 2015 are the key targets for UKTI Defence & Security Organisation. Last year’s expansion in the defence sector was supported by UK export growth of 4% to £2.7 billion in the security sector, in a global market that grew by 3%.

Combined defence and security exports rose to £11.5 billion in 2012, up from £8 billion in 2011.

Typhoon replica at Malaysia exhibition 2012 (library image)
Typhoon replica at Malaysia exhibition 2012 (library image) [Picture: Copyright © 2013 BAE Systems. All rights reserved]

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

Defence exports are helping to safeguard much needed high quality jobs in UK industry at a difficult time for the economy and these robust figures demonstrate Britain’s ability to successfully compete in the global race.

The UK government has pledged its support to the defence industry which has an outstanding record of export success. We have a proven ability to help UK exporters to win business overseas and achieve their international business potential.

These export results reflect the importance of the high technology sector and its contribution to advanced manufacturing trade. The UK’s defence industrial base is rich in innovation, largely thanks to the vital contribution of smaller firms.

The increase in the security sector reinforces a consistent picture of year on year growth in a highly competitive market. Growth is particularly strong in the cyber security sector which is critical to the UK’s national security.