UK Defence Sector Increases Global Market Share with Export Focus

A new Defence Industry Outlook report published yesterday reveals optimism about business growth prospects from the UK's Defence Industry.

The report - released by defence trade organisation ADS Group - offers an in-depth look at the sector’s employment, investment, export and growth trends, incorporating data provided by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and a comprehensive survey of defence industry leaders. It follows UKTI DSO’s Defence Export figures released this week which reveal a significant increase in the UK’s share of the global export market, rising to 22% in 2013.

The ADS report shows that while defence spending in traditional markets is down, more than two thirds (67%) plan to continue pursuing growth through export trade over the coming year. Currently, the majority of UK defence industry revenue is generated from domestic trade (70%). However, as industry pursues growth, more companies are turning their attention to opportunities overseas. In 2013, defence exports contributed almost £10bn to the UK economy, a year on year increase of 11%.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of defence trade organisation, ADS Group commented: “The UK defence industry has a global reputation for the development of high value, advanced technology, equipment and services. UK government and industry recognise the importance of safeguarding this world-leading industry for the long-term and are working together through the Defence Growth Partnership to develop a plan to make the most of new opportunities. Buoyed by the progress of this innovative collaboration, it is encouraging to see so many companies across the sector successfully securing growth through new opportunities in new markets, significantly outpacing their international counterparts.”
Demonstrating commitment to the UK supply chain
Seven in 10 UK defence companies are planning to increase investment in the next 12 months. Spurred on by concern over spending by some existing customers, these companies are focusing investment on developing, designing and delivering new export opportunities with 59% investing in business development and 51% investing in R&D.

While the UK defence industry is focused on driving new business opportunities overseas, it recognises the value of the high level skills and mature supply chain harboured at home. The sector is directly responsible for over 35,000 British R&D jobs and one in six UK defence companies are considering reshoring activity back to the UK to improve quality and minimise supply chain risk.
Delivering a long-term skills base
The sector directly employs 162,400, of which 4,900 are apprentices or trainees, and has a turnover of £22.1bn. It also supports many thousands of additional jobs indirectly, making it a valuable industry to the overall UK economy.

More than a fifth of the workforce work in research, design and engineering – critical to ensuring the UK sector is able to continue innovating world-leading capability. While the majority of companies (83%) are confident that the UK workforce will be able to provide the right number of workers for their overall needs, one in five (19%) are concerned about accessing the necessary R&D skills in the next five years – in particular to engineer complex systems to meet new customer requirements.

The Defence Growth Partnership (DGP), an innovative Government and industry collaboration is designed to ensure the UK defence sector maximises opportunities in the UK and in competitive export markets. The DGP is currently working to develop a strategic implementation plan which will be published at the Farnborough International Airshow, showing how UK industry can maintain its world-leading strategic capability and technology and strengthen global competitiveness. [via]

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