The United Kingdom defense market is projected to grow with a CAGR of more than 1.4% during the forecast period.
- Growth in the defense budget to achieve NATO’s defense spending target will be a major driver for the market.
- Technological advancement will upsurge the demand for the replacement of aging equipment and the procurement of new products, propelling the market to grow in the coming years.
- Fight against terrorism, externally and internally, is also expected to support the growth of the defense market in the United Kingdom.
Key Market Trends
Air Force Segment is Expected to Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The air force segment is expected to experience major growth in the UK defense market during the forecast period, due to the procurement and replacement plans for combat aircraft, airborne ISR equipment, and orders for new unmanned aerial vehicles. In 2017/2018, the UK Ministry of Defense achieved several significant milestones in the procurement and support of equipment and successfully delivered the plan within the budget. Milestones include the intake of a further 12 F-35 Lightning aircraft. The Air Command plans to spend about USD 43 billion on the Equipment Plan over the next decade. The Air Command is responsible for three sectors: Air Mobility and Air Enablers, Combat Air, and Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance. The investment will include enhancing weapons and radar capabilities of the Typhoon program, using emerging synthetic technology to enhance training for frontline crews, and progress on unmanned aerial systems, among others. 17 new F-35B aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2022, increasing the number of F-35 aircraft to 35 jets by 2022. As of 2019, the country has 15 F-35B fighter aircraft in service of Royal Air Force. Also, the government plans to invest about GBP 2 billion on Tempest, a new fighter aircraft project (under development) by 2025.
The UK Defense Market is Expected to Experience a Steady Growth
The military spending of Europe accounted for almost 20% of the global military spending in 2018. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom were among the top 10 military spending countries in the world in 2018. The United Kingdom’s public sector expenditure on defense as a share of GDP in 2017/18 was 2.1%. As of 2018, the country was the second-largest global defense exporter and it had won defense orders worth almost USD 18.70 billion. According to the UK MoD, the country’s share of the global defense export market was estimated at 19% in 2018. Revenue expenditure forms the largest share of the UK defense budget. United Kingdom is also the second-largest NATO defense spender after the United States. In 2018 the country was one of the only six NATO members to meet the guidelines set NATO to spend at least 2% of national GDP on defense annually. In budget 2020, the government announced GBP 1 billion (USD 1.25 billion) facility for UK Export Finance (UKEF) to support overseas buyers of UK defense and security goods and services along with an additional investment of GBP 100 million (USD 125 million) for research and development of defense capabilities against the threats faced by the country. This also includes funds for the development of advanced technology for aviation as well as space propulsion.
The UK defense market is partly dominated by the local players and partly by the players based in the United States. The market, which is highly competitive, largely depends on product innovation. The UK MoD nurtures open competition policies that seek the best defense equipment for the best value. The MoD acquires defense equipment from foreign sources when the advantages of performance, cost, and delivery schedule outweigh the benefits of buying the British alternative. Some of the prominent players based in the United Kingdom are BAE Systems PLC and GKN Aerospace Services Limited. BAE Systems is one of the prominent tier-1 suppliers for the F-35 program. Furthermore, BAE Systems is developing Tempest. Currently, a consortium consisting of the UK Ministry of Defense, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo S.p.A, and MBDA is developing the aircraft and plans to induct the aircraft from 2035 replacing Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft service in the Royal Air Force and AMI. The United States is the major supplier of defense imports to the United Kingdom. Several international players have expanded in the UK market by merging or acquiring small or medium-sized local players. The defense companies in the United Kingdom are tapping into potential markets, such as the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, to expand their global presence.
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