Aerospace & Defence

The UK’s aerospace industry is the largest in Europe and 2nd globally with more than 17% global market share worth £24 billion per annum. In Hampshire, it represents a high-growth sector with a concentration of employment that is double the national average, an outstanding cluster of world-class companies and some of the best research and development facilities globally.

Major Aerospace & Defence Companies in Hampshire

In Hampshire, the aerospace and defence sector supports 18,000 jobs.  Some of the leading global aerospace and defence companies are located in Hampshire including; BAE Systems, GE Aviation Systems, Honeywell Aerospace, Meggitt Avionics, Lockheed Martin, Eaton Aerospace, GKN Aerospace, Safran Helicopter Engines, QinetiQ, Boeing, Vector Aerospace, Sodexo Defence Services, AgustaWestland (Leonardo Helicopters), Northrop Grumman and Finmeccanica.

View our interactive map of the major companies in Hampshire.

Key Locations

London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports are just an hour away from Hampshire and the county is home to Europe's only business dedicated aviation airport at Farnborough and the international airport of Southampton.     

When the UK’s very first sustained powered flight took place at Farnborough in 1908, it was inevitable that the north Hampshire town would become a leading location for the aerospace sector.  Today Farnborough is home to a huge cluster of aerospace companies, Europe’s fastest growing business airport and largest aviation trade show.

Farnborough is home to the national headquarters of the UK’s largest aerospace company BAE Systems, US firm Flight Safety International’s Flight Training Centre, Boeing’s state-of-the-art network-enabled centre for collaboration and experimentation and QinetiQ’s Cody Technology Park, Europe's largest science and technology solutions company.

Seven of the top ten global aerospace companies have a presence in the Solent region in south Hampshire including EADS, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Finmeccanica.

Defence features strongly in the south of Hampshire where Portsmouth Naval Base is home to almost two thirds of the Royal Navy’s surface ships accounting for 17,200 jobs at peak times.

The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus in south Hampshire focuses on Advanced Manufacturing specialising in the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors and offers many benefits to businesses.


Hampshire’s aerospace and defence companies are diverse and represented in a wide range of sub-sectors.  Southampton-based GE Aviation are leaders in aerostructures field, the VT Group and Lockheed Martin have expertise in defence systems and experience in unmanned air vehicles comes from Roke Manor Research based in Hampshire’s Test-Valley. Serco has a large presence throughout the county with specialism’s including homeland security, in the space field EADS Astrium supplies the majority of European military satellites, and BAA’s Southampton Airport and UK air traffic management company NATS are prominent in the airport and airline services sub-sector. 

Research Excellence

Based in Farnborough, QinetiQ is Europe’s largest technology company and one of the world’s finest defence research institutions. The company’s research labs have pioneered a range of technologies including radar and liquid crystal displays, over more than six decades.

The University of Portsmouth’s  Aerospace Materials  research group specialises in applied research into fatigue and fracture of aerospace materials and components, with industrial collaborators including Rolls Royce, the US Air Force, the MOD, QinetiQ, Astrium and Westland Aerostructures.

The University of Southampton’s Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) for Computational Engineering applies modern computational tools, methods and environments to problems in aerospace engineering and related fields. The University’s Airbus Noise Technology Centre (ANTC) works towards meeting the industry's target of cutting perceived aircraft noise in half by 2020.

Industry Support & Networks

Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC) provides a focus for over 1,200 aerospace and defence related companies located in southern England. The Consortium enables its members to become more competitive through improved marketing, sharing of best practice, access to current research and collective action.

ADS is the trade organisation for all companies operating in the UK aerospace, defence, security and space industries. Farnborough International Limited (FIL), which runs the Farnborough International Airshow, is a wholly owned subsidiary.


Europe’s largest aviation trade show, the Farnborough International Airshow, takes place biannually and resulted in $205 billion of business in 2014.   The show attracts over 1,500 exhibitors and approximately 100,000 trade visitors.