United Kingdom Defense Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2023 - 2028)

The UK Defense Market has been segmented by Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and Type (Aircraft, Rotorcraft, Ground Vehicles, Naval Vessels, C4ISR, Weapons and Ammunition, and Protection and Training Equipment).

UK Defense Market Size

UK Defense Market Size
Study Period: 2018 - 2028
CAGR: > 2 %

Major Players

UK Defense Market Companies

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order


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UK Defense Market Analysis

The UK defense market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 2% during the forecast period (2021-2031).

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy, the government announced that it plans to increase its military budget in the coming years due to the need to enhance the capabilities of its armed forces.

As per NATO, the United Kingdom is one of the top countries globally in terms of defense spending. The country met its target of 2% of the GDP in 2019 and 2020. In February 2022, the government announced its plan to invest EUR 238 billion (USD 270 billion) into the procurement of new generation military equipment and provide required services for existing services over 2021-2031. The investment is expected to support the government in strengthening its digital and cyber capabilities, along with air, land, and sea capabilities.

The country has been increasing its defense budget and spending over the past few years to achieve NATO’s defense spending target of 2% of the total country’s GDP, which is acting as a major driver for the growth of the market.

The investments into technological advancements to enhance the lethality, precision, and range of weapons, communication range, and other support services to address new and rapidly evolving threats of the country are expected to propel the growth of the market.

UK Defense Industry Segmentation

The study covers all aspects and provides insights into the budget allocation and spending in the UK defense market in the past and the present, along with the forecast for the future. The market includes details about the procurement and modernization plans of the UK armed forces. Based on armed forces, the market is segmented into army, navy, and air force. Based on type, the market is segmented into aircraft, rotorcraft, ground vehicles, naval vessels, C4ISR, weapons and ammunition, and protection and training equipment. The market also includes investments in the development and launch of satellites and research and development of advanced technologies like directed energy weapons, the use of composites, and advanced manufacturing technologies like 3D printing. The market sizing and forecasts have been provided in value (USD billion).

Armed Forces
Air Force
Fixed-wing Aircraft
Ground Vehicles
Naval Vessels
Weapons and Ammunition
Protection and Training Equipment
Unmanned Systems

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UK Defense Market Trends

This section covers the major market trends shaping the UK Defense Market according to our research experts:

The United Kingdom Plans to Increase its Investments in Naval Fleet Expansion and Modernization

Maritime security is an issue of critical importance to the United Kingdom, more so after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. Almost 95% of all UK imports and exports move by sea through over 400 British ports. The UK maritime security is complex and presents a host of challenges like the prospect of a terrorist attack at sea, the smuggling of illicit goods, threats to critical marine infrastructure, etc. This generates a need for the United Kingdom to enhance its maritime security capabilities. The United Kingdom has taken some important steps to strengthen its maritime security capacities and governance mechanisms, including the establishment of cross-governmental coordination bodies, such as the Joint Maritime Security Center. In March 2021, the government announced new plans to enhance the capabilities of the British Navy through investments for the addition of new surface ships, submarines, weapons, technologies, and missions. For instance, the Royal Navy plans to operate over 20 frigates and destroyers by the early 2030s, with plans to increase the size to 24. Furthermore, by 2022, the country plans to deploy automated and autonomous mine hunting systems as a part of GBP 1 billion (USD 1.87 billion) in mine warfare. Such robust plans are to enhance the naval capabilities of the country and will drive the market growth during the forecast period.

UK Defense Market Growth

The UK Defense Market is Expected to Experience a Steady Growth

The military spending of Europe accounted for over 15% of the global military spending in 2020. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany were among the top 10 military spending countries in the world in 2020. As of 2020, the country was the second-largest global defense exporter, and it had won defense orders worth almost USD 10.61 billion (GBP 7.9 billion). According to the UK MoD, the country’s share of the global defense export market was estimated at 6% in 2020, with Europe, North America, and the Middle East being the country's largest export markets. Revenue expenditure forms the largest share of the UK defense budget. The United Kingdom is also the second-largest NATO defense spender after the United States. In 2020, the country was one of the only eight NATO members to meet the guidelines set by NATO to spend at least 2% of national GDP on defense annually. The United Kingdom’s public sector expenditure on defense as a share of GDP in 2020 was 2.2%. In budget 2021, the government announced a budget increase of GBP 16.5 billion (USD 21.9 billion) with additional funding for developing the country’s capabilities in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, space, cyber, and the creation of sensor-laden connected hardware. Such investments are anticipated to boost the growth of the UK defense market.

UK Defense Market Analysis

UK Defense Industry Overview

Several players in the market support the defense market of the United Kingdom. The UK defense market is partly dominated by the local players and partly by the players based in the United States. 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. Airbus SE, Lockheed Martin Corporation, BAE Systems PLC, Leonardo SpA, and Thales Group are some of the prominent players in the UK defense market, which are expected to hold a significant share even during the forecast period. 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 SpA, 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 the Italian Air Force (AMI). Similar partnerships for various development and procurement programs of the government are expected to help the companies increase their share in the market in the coming years.

UK Defense Market Leaders

  1. Lockheed Martin Corporation

  2. Airbus SE

  3. BAE Systems plc

  4. Leonardo S.p.A.

  5. Thales Group

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Airbus SE, BAE Systems plc, Leonardo S.p.A., Thales Group

UK Defense Market News

  • In November 2021, the UK Ministry of Defense unveiled the Future Soldier program to modernize its army to meet the requirements of next-generation threats across the world. The country plans to invest an additional GBP 8.6 billion (USD 11.55 billion) in army equipment over the next decade. With the additional investment, the country's army investment increased to GBP 41.3 billion (USD 55.47 billion) over the next 10 years. The country plans to invest in new generation equipment like Ajax armored fighting vehicles, Boxer armored fighting vehicles, Challenger 3 main battle tank, AH-64E Apache helicopter, long-range precision fires, and un-crewed aerial systems.
  • In November 2021, Elbit Systems UK was selected by the British Army to deliver the Interim Combined Arms Virtual Simulation (Deployable) ICAVS(D), a pathfinder project for its Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP). The ICAVS(D) is expected to replace Unit-Based Virtual Trainer (UBVT) (current in-service system) by April 2022.

UK Defense Market Report - Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study



    1. 3.1 Market Size and Forecast, 2018 - 2031

    2. 3.2 Market Share by Armed Force, 2021

    3. 3.3 Market Share by Type, 2021

    4. 3.4 Structure of the Market and Key Participants


    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Indicators

    3. 4.3 Market Drivers

    4. 4.4 Market Restraints

    5. 4.5 PESTLE Analysis

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION (Market Size and Forecast by Value - USD billion, 2018 - 2031)

    1. 5.1 Armed Forces

      1. 5.1.1 Army

      2. 5.1.2 Navy

      3. 5.1.3 Air Force

    2. 5.2 Type

      1. 5.2.1 Fixed-wing Aircraft

      2. 5.2.2 Rotorcraft

      3. 5.2.3 Ground Vehicles

      4. 5.2.4 Naval Vessels

      5. 5.2.5 C4ISR

      6. 5.2.6 Weapons and Ammunition

      7. 5.2.7 Protection and Training Equipment

      8. 5.2.8 Unmanned Systems


    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 BAE Systems PLC

      2. 6.2.2 Lockheed Martin Corporation

      3. 6.2.3 Raytheon Technologies Corporation

      4. 6.2.4 Airbus SE

      5. 6.2.5 Babcock International Group PLC

      6. 6.2.6 MBDA

      7. 6.2.7 QinetiQ Group PLC

      8. 6.2.8 Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC

      9. 6.2.9 Northrop Grumman Corporation

      10. 6.2.10 L3Harris Technologies Inc.

      11. 6.2.11 The Boeing Company

      12. 6.2.12 Thales Group

      13. 6.2.13 Leonardo SpA

      14. 6.2.14 General Dynamics Corporation

      15. 6.2.15 HENSOLDT AG


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UK Defense Market Research FAQs

The United Kingdom Defense Market is studied from 2018 - 2028.

The United Kingdom Defense Market is growing at a CAGR of >2% over the next 5 years.

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Airbus SE, BAE Systems plc, Leonardo S.p.A. , Thales Group are the major companies operating in United Kingdom Defense Market.

United Kingdom Defense Industry Report

Statistics for the 2023 United Kingdom Defense market share, size and revenue growth rate, created by Mordor Intelligence™ Industry Reports. United Kingdom Defense analysis includes a market forecast outlook to 2028 and historical overview. Get a sample of this industry analysis as a free report PDF download.

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