Supplementary Weapons of Mass Destruction End-Use controls

Export controls applying to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) related activities - transfer of technology and provision of technical support


Export controls on military and dual-use goods extend to very specific and detailed areas. One of these areas is in relation to transfer of technology - within the UK and by non-electronic means - and the provision of technical assistance relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) activities.

Transfer of technology concerns both the electronic and non-electronic transfer of ‘controlled’ goods. This can be done by a variety of methods. For instance, electronic transfers can involve the use of email, fax, computer file transfer, telephone or video conferencing. Non-electronic transfers concern face-to-face communications.

The provision of technical assistance broadly means providing any type of technical support - such as assembly, maintenance or repair to controlled goods.

This guide explains where you can find further guidance on these controls, including how ‘technical assistance’ is defined and the specific instances when the WMD End-Use control is used. It also outlines the types of licence you may be able to use.

Provision of technical assistance

The Export Control Order 2008 sets out details of end-use control on technical assistance. For more general information, see the guide on the Export Control Order 2008.

The legislation means that you will need a licence for the provision of technical assistance in relation to any WMD-related activity.

Detailed guidance which explains these controls, including the meaning of ‘technical assistance’ and when and who should apply, is outlined in the Export Control Organisation’s (ECO) guidance on the supplementary WMD End-Use controls

This document outlines the following information:

  • controlled transfers of WMD End-Use technology
  • WMD purposes
  • provision of technical assistance
  • types of licences and how to apply record keeping and compliance
  • contacts for further advice

You can also access separate information on:

  • the export of technology - see the guide on the export of technology
  • transfer abroad of controlled military technology and software by electronic means - see the guide on the electronic transfer abroad of controlled military technology and software
  • export control legislation for academics and researchers in the UK - see the guide on export control legislation for UK academics and researchers.

Licensing and compliance aspects of weapons of mass destruction end-use controls

Depending on the nature and destination of the proposed export, different types of licences might be applicable.

An Open General Export Licence (OGEL) is not normally appropriate for activities relating to WMD or the provision of technical assistance exports. For more information, see the guide on Open General LIcences: an overview.

If you are not entitled to use an OGEL, the ECO also issues other categories of licence including Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) and Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs)., which might be appropriate.

In some cases, you will need to apply in writing to the ECO for export permission, as outlined in their detailed supplementary WMD End-Use Controls guidance.

Exporters should be aware of record keeping and compliance requirements. See the guide on compliance and enforcement of export controls.

Further Information

BIS ECO Helpline

Email: or call 020 7215 4594.

Subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters.

Published 3 August 2012
Last updated 6 December 2012 + show all updates
  1. Amended broken links and added related guides

  2. First published.