Guidance

Defence and security: exporting guide

Get help to sell your products and services overseas. Guidance for UK companies involved in the defence and security sector.

The guide will help you prepare your company for exporting. It will help you decide whether you have:

  • compliant, competitive and exportable products or services
  • the financial and human resources necessary to start exporting

Department for International Trade UK Defence and Security Exports (UK DSE) cannot make any commercial decisions for you, but can guide you.

UK DSE event and exhibition support

UK DSE provides UK companies with support at defence and security events and exhibitions, such as:

  • exhibition support
  • meet the buyer opportunities
  • Defence and Security Industry Days (DSID)

UK DSE Export Support Team (EST)

The EST is a specialised unit of serving military personnel who have a wide variety of knowledge and operational experience that can provide expert support to the UK defence and security industry.

Free services

Services include:

  • company visits such as on-site visits or invitations to EST headquarters in Larkhill to discuss how UK DSE and the EST can support you in export opportunities and campaigns

  • impartial military advice during a company visit when the team can offer advice on products and capabilities to enhance and exploit opportunities in overseas defence and security markets

Chargeable services

Services include:

  • professional support to maximise the impact of your promotional material including video and photo shoots to make it look as professional and eye-catching as possible

  • demonstrations and presentations to delegates, overseas visitors or foreign military personnel on your behalf, including use of the EST bespoke hangar that can be set up as an exhibition area

  • support at exhibitions both in the UK or abroad, providing you with the opportunity to display your products on the UK DSE stand or having someone available with a stand at your own location

  • after sales training supporting your after sales training offer which can include assistance in producing training packages and delivering training

  • the opportunity to host foreign delegations who are seeking possible defence and security solutions from UK industry

For more information on EST services and related costs, call 01980 845361 or email TRADE-EST-IHUBMAILBOX@mod.gov.uk.

Media support

UK DSE has a dedicated senior press officer who acts as a spokesperson for the defence and security sectors. They are available to offer media advice and support for:

  • launch of equipment
  • engaging international, national and specialist media at UK and overseas exhibitions
  • support for overseas campaigns

Support and engagement can be offered onsite or remotely, depending upon availability and circumstances. They can be contacted on 020 7215 8467.

Cyber security

UK DSE helps cyber security companies do more business internationally.

See our cyber security export strategy.

Wider DIT services

Department for International Trade (DIT) staff provide expert trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas, through a range of services.

Export opportunities

Department for International Trade (DIT) provides free international export sales leads from its worldwide network. Search for export opportunities.

Overseas government defence procurement websites are also a good source of new opportunities:

For more information about selling to NATO see Navigating NATO Procurement.

Finance

You may need some form of credit guarantee or insurance to protect you against non-payment or other financial issues in certain markets.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) can provide extra capital to finance large projects and help grow businesses. Watch our videos on the help UKEF can give on trade finance and managing payment risk.

To find out what government-backed finance advice and support is available to you and your business, see finance and support for your business.

Trade associations and regional trade groups

Providing help and information in your specific business area:

Other trade associations can be found on the Trade Association Forum.

Please note that UK DSE cannot recommend or endorse membership of any particular organisation. There may be a membership fee or other associated costs when engaging them.

Restrictions and regulations

You need to know if you need a licence to export your goods or services, and if you are able to promote them overseas (MOD form 680).

Find out what restrictions and regulations apply to export defence and security goods and services.

Business risk

The following guides will help you identify potential risks:

Selling to UK Armed Forces and working with the MoD

If you are looking to sell your goods and services to the UK Armed Forces, you will find further help and guidance at Selling to UK MOD.

For advice about developing your new ideas, technologies and capabilities for the UK defence market see the Defence and Security Accelerator.

Contact UK DSE

UK DSE has a dedicated SME Support Team to help and advise UK SMEs.

If you are contacting us for the first time fill in our short contact form.

UK SMEs that have already engaged with UK DSE should email ukdse.smeenquiry@trade.gov.uk.

For general enquiries contact ditdso.enquiry@trade.gov.uk or if you are looking for a specific contact see the UK DSE directory.

Published 13 November 2014
Last updated 4 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated DIT DSO references to UK DSE, and removed market research section.

  2. Amended 'Contact DIT DSO' section adding in form link for first time UK SME enquiries.

  3. Added link to Navigating NATO Procurement

  4. Added section on UKTI DSO Export Suport Team.

  5. Added section on media support

  6. Added link to cyber security page

  7. Updated page - added link to the British Safety Industry Federation

  8. Added link to UKEF case study

  9. Added link to UKTI DSO case studies.

  10. First published.