The Ministry of Defence Supply Base

Information on how the Ministry of Defence works with the Defence sector to achieve our goals.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 2015 committed the UK to spending a minimum 2% of GDP on defence over the next decade. This commitment represents spending some £178-billion on Defence Equipment and Support over that period.

In 2019/20 MOD spent nearly £21-billion with industry, accounting for almost 40% of all UK government procurement spend and representing the fifth biggest defence budget in the world.

The size and complexity of many of our projects means that we need to work closely with our suppliers to ensure delivery of the Defence programme. Below are 19 of our largest suppliers:

  • Airbus
  • Babcock
  • BAE Systems
  • Boeing
  • Capita
  • DXC
  • General Dynamics
  • KBR
  • Leidos
  • Leonardo
  • Lockheed Martin
  • MBDA
  • QinetiQ
  • Raytheon
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Serco
  • Thales
  • Ultra Electronics.

The majority of procurement opportunities in Defence exist within the MOD supply chain (around 75%). To access as many opportunities as possible we encourage you to look at Defence supplier’s websites.
We advocate the use of competition wherever appropriate both in our direct contract opportunities and throughout the supply chain.

Opportunities therefore exist for suppliers of all sizes, from large established defence contractors through to innovative smaller businesses, to get involved in our procurement activity both as a prime supplier and as a sub-contractor.

The programmes we support are detailed in the Defence Equipment Plan 2020.

Spending more with SMEs

We recognise SMEs have a great deal to offer in promoting economic growth. We are working to help SMEs gain a greater share of defence related business.

We are improving access to our market for new, innovative suppliers and particularly smaller businesses. We want at least 25% of our procurement spend to go to SMEs both directly and indirectly by 2022.

To help achieve this goal we have developed a dedicated SME Action Plan, which reinforces our commitment to the SME Agenda, aiming to increase our overall spend with SMEs.

Our SME spend has increased steadily over the last four years, from 13.1% in Financial Year 2016/17 to 21.3% in Financial Year 2019/20. Data on central government SME spend is published on GOV.UK on an annual basis.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is committed to working with a wider range of innovative SMEs. This is underpinned by the SME Searchlight project, set up to attract SMEs and non-traditional defence suppliers.

Government has a commitment to obtain value for money and support small businesses and start-ups through procurement. We understand the challenges and barriers, especially for smaller firms, and are committed to tackling them. Centralised guidance for SMEs is available on the Small and Medium Business Hub.

Procurement at MOD

Published 29 October 2020
Last updated 15 November 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added a link under 'Spending more with SMEs' to the SME Searchlight project page.

  2. Addition of link to 'The Defence Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Action Plan'.

  3. First published.