The trade body for the Aerospace, Defence and Space sectors in Wales
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The Aerospace and Defence sector is flourishing throughout Wales. Over 160 companies employ more than 20,000 people here.

Within this thriving aerospace industry Wales provides world-class training, innovation and expertise, from university research to government and private sector projects. It’s a passion for progress. A driving force that has attracted some of the world’s leading companies to Wales, including BAE Systems, British Airways, GE Aviation, General Dynamics, Magellan, Raytheon, Zodiac Seats, Triumph and Qioptiq plus Airbus Group in North Wales employs 6,500 people in its civilian aircraft wing plant.

Wales can offer some of the highest levels of financial incentives in the UK for existing business looking to expand, for new Inward Investors and for new start companies.


The sector also has its own Enterprise Zone. Since 1938, St Athan EZ in South Wales has been a major centre for aerospace and defence. Today, the area is dedicated to shaping the sector’s future, as part of Welsh Government’s £60 million Cardiff Airport and St Athan EZ. With a 1,800 metre runway resurfaced in 2009 and full airfield support, the Enterprise Zone is Wales’ new hub for Aerospace and Defence. It has been a major base for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) since its opening.

Deeside EZ includes global companies such as Airbus, Electroimpact and Gardner Aerospace and the Snowdonia EZ includes Llanbedr, a site being developed for further RPAS and potentially for a Space Port. Civilian and military projects work here side by side, in areas including maintenance, repair and overhaul and non-destructive testing, as well as pilot and engineering training and ‘end of life’ aircraft recycling services.



Wales is a cornerstone of UK defence operations, through provision of workforce skills, as well as the availability of secure sites and airspace. More recently, we’ve added new strengths to our infrastructure. These include training, systems and defence technologies. Around 100 companies in Wales are involved in creating defence applications such as software, biometrics, optical design and imaging.

One example is Airbus Defence and Space. From its base in Newport, the company is developing defence communication and information systems using local expertise and ingenuity. Working in South East Wales, with General Dynamics, Axiom and TT Electronics nearby, these companies have been able to access a highly skilled workforce – as well as the MOD’s procurement base, just a short drive away in Bristol.

Such an active Aerospace and Defence sector provides a ready market for businesses such as Qioptiq, which designs and manufactures night vision systems for the MOD. Another is Babcock, which maintains the RAF fastjet training fleet at RAF Valley on Anglesey, and QinetiQ, experts in defence, aerospace and security. In North East Wales DECA have recently been awarded a global repair hub, undertaking MRO and upgrades for the F-35 avionic and aircraft components, whilst Raytheon UK have opened a new facility to continue their work on the RAF Sentinel fleet.