United Kingdom - Country Commercial Guide
Defense Equipment - United Kingdom

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-09-11


Defense cooperation between the U.S. and the UK is well established, and the UK is considered a Tier one partner. The UK has significant military capability and seeks to augment its current capacity with the latest technology available. Most technology, if acquired from the U.S., requires an ITAR license, and new suppliers need to be familiar with the licensing application process.

The UK is one of the top NATO countries in terms of defense spending. The UK met its spending target of 2% of its GDP in 2019 and 2020, and the UK Government announced in February 2022 its plan to invest $270 billion into the procurement of next-generation military equipment over the next ten years. This investment is expected to strengthen the UK’s digital and cyber capabilities along with air, land, and sea capabilities.

In 2021, the UK released three strategic guidance documents: Integrated Review (IR) of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy, Defense Command Paper (DCP), and the Defense & Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS).

The Government of the UK has informed through its “Green Book” that all public money awarded to suppliers needs to demonstrate “Social Value,” the net value added to the UK society and economy. Social Value accounts for 10% of the score when contracts are evaluated, and all U.S. suppliers competing for defense contracts need to demonstrate Social Value to remain competitive.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The UK MOD has highlighted the following areas:


$2.4 billion investment in the Royal Navy carrier force, the UK ship building industry, and development of greater missile capability.

Production of eight x Type 26 frigates and five x Type 31 General Purpose Frigates and Type 32 multi-role frigates.

Development of a Type 83 destroyer to replace the Type 45.

$277 million for the Royal Marines to evolve from their standby amphibious infantry role into a forward-based, highly capable maritime “Future Commando Force.”

Ground Forces

British Army will reduce troop level from 76,500 to 72,500 by 2025 and reorganize into seven brigade combat teams comprised of two heavy brigades, one deep strike brigade, one air maneuver brigade, and two light brigades, plus one Combat Aviation Brigade.

$30 billion for a modernized long precision fire, multiple launched rocket systems; new air defenses; tactical surveillance drones, new electronic warfare, and cyberspace capabilities.

Creation of a Ranger regiment and Security Force Assistance Brigade.

Acquiring fleet of 50 AH-64 Apache helicopters, with a scheduled final delivery date of 2024.

Purchased 14 MH-47 Chinook helicopters for the UK Special Operations Force

Beginning recapitalization efforts of their MLRS platform, with initial deliveries set for 2024.


Investing $2.77 billion for Future Combat Air System (i.e., Tempest Program).

Retiring E-3D Sentry in 2021, replacing with three E7 Wedgetails by 2023.

Committed to purchasing additional 26 F-35s bringing the total ordered to 74.

Retiring C-130 Hercules in 2023 and replacing with 22 A400s.

Replacing the 9 MQ-9A Reapers with 16 MQ-9B Protectors by 2024 and investing in swarming drone technology.


Investing $7 billion in Skynet-6 military communication satellite program.

$1.9 billion for a National Space Operations Centre, a Space Command, a Space Academy, an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance satellite constellation, and for space domain awareness capabilities.

Investing in a UK space launch capability (both horizontal and vertical).

Cyber and R&D

Increasing cyber capabilities and creating the National Cyber Force, a dedicated career path for cyber specialists.

$9 billion in Research and Development over the next four years.

$415 million for research at Weapons Science and Technology Centre for novel weapons.

Establishing a new government-to-government commercial mechanism for defense and security exports (possibly similar to the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program).


The UK defense industry is sophisticated and mature. Defense suppliers looking to export into the UK can expect to find a highly competitive environment and must demonstrate a clear competitive advantage. A company with non-British ownership or without a presence in the UK is not necessarily at a competitive disadvantage compared with British firms seeking MOD business. However, a U.S. company must commit both time and resources to enter or expand within the UK defense market. Selling through an established UK company is the least risky market entry strategy for most U.S. defense providers to enter the UK defense supply chain.

Through the Defense and Security Accelerator, the MOD frequently holds industry engagement days and competitions to evaluate equipment and technology. The best way for U.S. companies desiring to engage in meaningful dialogue with the MOD is through these MOD-sponsored industry days and competitions. For announcements on MOD events relevant to a particular defense sector, suppliers should consistently monitor announcements on the Defense and Security Accelerator website.


Defense Sourcing Portal

The MOD’s Defense Sourcing Portal (DSP) is the official source of UK MOD contracts, providing instant access to all contract opportunities in one place. You can contact DSP at customersupport@jaggaer.com or on 1-800-233-1121.

Defense Science and Technology Laboratory

The Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) ensures that innovative science and technology contribute to the defense and security of the UK. To contact Dstl, send an email to centralenquiries@dstl.gov.uk or call +44 198 095 0000.

Defense and Security Accelerator

The Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) finds and funds exploitable innovation to support defense and security quickly and effectively. Its mission is for the UK to maintain its strategic advantage over its adversaries through the most innovative defense and security capabilities in the world.

Defense Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE)

May 2022 London, UK

DPRTE provides a platform for both MOD and industry to connect in order to explore the key challenges, programs and future opportunities that exist within the defense acquisition supply chain.


For further information, please contact:

PJ Menner

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service

Tel: +44 (0)20 7891 3470