The UK remains the second largest global defence exporter after the USA, according to the latest UK defence and security export statistics released by the government.
Official figures published today by UK Defence & Security Exports show £11 billion of defence export orders were won by UK companies in 2019, and £7.2 billion in security exports.
Cyber security export sales jumped to £3.9 billion from £2.1 billion the previous year, making up more than half the total UK security exports.
Paul Event is Chief Executive of ADS Group Limited, the trade organisation for companies operating in the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors. He said: “The UK’s defence and security industries are securing exports worth billions of pounds to our economy that sustain tens of thousands of high value jobs.
“Today’s official figures show our security sector rapidly growing its international cyber security sales as demand rises for our world-leading capability in this important market.
“Our innovative and internationally competitive defence and security sectors are well placed to make a major contribution to driving UK prosperity as we work to recover from the pandemic.”
The UK share of the global defence export market was estimated at 16 per cent in 2019, with this country’s largest defence export markets as the Middle East, Europe and North America.
The Middle East remains the dominant UK export destination reflecting the continued importance of the market to the UK (and to UK competitors), and confirming the high levels of defence expenditure made by this region. Despite oil price volatility, most countries in the region were able to sustain defence expenditure levels.
North America was the second highest region for UK defence exporters, accounting for almost one fifth of total UK defence exports by customer destination. Europe and the Asia-Pacific were the next most important regional markets for the UK in this period.
In 2019, the value of UK security export sales was £7.2 billion, an increase from 2018 (£5.2 billion), lifting the UK to third place (from fourth in 2018) in the rankings.
UK defence exports to Latin America & Africa were one per cent or less for each year.
The UK’s largest security export markets were Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
The aerospace sector by value accounted for almost two thirds of all defence exports. This is unsurprising given the fact that high value combat aircraft, transport aircraft, trainer aircraft and attack and transport helicopters are included in this. The land sector accounted for almost a quarter of all defence exports globally. The sea sector is the lowest sector globally by value.
The UK is dependent (around 90 per cent) on its aerospace sector, including platforms, equipment and support. As a leader in air sector technology and capability, it is exploiting its expertise. This strength is vital to securing the high value export opportunities in growth markets where securing air superiority is, and is likely to remain, a key priority for nearly all nations.
But with leading companies in commercial aerospace such as Rolls-Royce, Airbus UK and GKN cutting thousands of jobs, the sector is calling for more support from government to help it survive the pandemic.