Typhoons taxi at RAF Akrotiri before night mission
UK

UK Remains Second Biggest Defence Exporter Behind US

New data shows the UK has averaged second place in the global rankings on a rolling 10-year basis.

Typhoons taxi at RAF Akrotiri before night mission

The United Kingdom remains the second largest global defence exporter behind the United States of America, according to new figures.

The numbers show the UK has averaged second place in the global rankings on a rolling 10-year basis (2010 to 2019).

The data has been released by UK Defence and Security Exports and compiled in conjunction with the Department for International Trade statistics team.

It reveals that in 2019, the UK won defence orders worth a total of £11bn (down from £14bn in 2018).

Its estimated share of the global defence market was 16%, compared with 47% for the USA.

The largest of the UK’s defence export markets were Europe and North America with the Middle East the dominant UK defence export destination.

It is estimated, however, that the global defence market decreased from $100bn in 2018 (peak) to around $89bn the following year.

Some of the UK’s significant defence orders in the past decade include: Typhoon aircraft to Kuwait, Typhoon aircraft and Brimstone missiles to Qatar, Hawk and Typhoon aircraft to Oman, helicopters to Norway and South Korea, Trent 700 aircraft engines to France, and F-35 work and bridging to the USA.

    The data shows that the UK is particularly dependent on its aerospace sector expertise (Picture: MOD).

    In relation to global defence exports, the data shows that the UK is particularly dependent on its aerospace sector expertise, with platforms, equipment and support.

    There has been a slight modification in calculating the UK’s global defence export figures, as collaborative exports (such as Typhoon aircraft exports to partner nations like Germany, Italy and Spain) are now counted.

    It is estimated this accounts for an additional £600m in defence export figures for 2019, while numbers in previous years were not adjusted for this change.

    The security sector data has been provided by Frost & Sullivan (F&S).

    It shows that the UK has become the third largest security exporter (behind the USA and China), up from fourth place in 2018. Sales were valued at £7.2 billion in 2019 – an increase from £5.2 billion the previous year.

    This can be partly attributed, the publication suggests, to new registration of UK subsidiaries of American companies and the channelling of some of their global revenues through accounts in the UK or better reporting of the proportion of total turnover that represented exports.

    The UK is reported to have gained 44% in the number of cybersecurity companies from 2018 to 2019.

    Its largest security export markets were Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, with Europe the largest.

    The UK was the sixth largest defence importer in the period 2009 to 2018.

    Cover image: Typhoon jets (Picture: MOD).