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The Future of Defence Procurement: How EU-based Suppliers and Manufacturers are Shaping the Industry



EU-based suppliers and manufacturers refer to companies based in one of the European Union member states and involved in the defence and aerospace industry. These companies can be involved in a variety of activities such as the design, development, production, and maintenance of military aircraft, missiles and defence rockets, space systems, naval systems, cybersecurity systems, armaments, defence electronics, land systems, training and simulation systems, and support services.


The defence and aerospace industry is a major contributor to the EU economy, and EU-based suppliers and manufacturers play a crucial role in this industry by providing a diverse range of products and services.

In the defence and aerospace sectors, the EU has a strong industrial base, with many EU-based companies having a global reputation for quality and innovation. This is especially important for the EU because the defence and aerospace industries rely heavily on exports, and EU-based suppliers and manufacturers are well-positioned to capitalise on the rising global demand for defence and aerospace products and services.


"As one of the EU's leading defense and aerospace companies, the importance of EU-based suppliers and manufacturers in our supply chain is massive. They supply us with advanced technologies, high-quality materials, and a skilled workforce, all of which are required for the development and production of our cutting-edge fighter jets. We can ensure that our defense and aerospace systems meet the highest quality and reliability standards by collaborating closely with EU-based suppliers and manufacturers. The EU's suppliers and manufacturers are critical to the EU's continued competitiveness in the global defense and aerospace industries." Eurofighter


Eurofighter Typhoon | The world's most advanced combat aircraft


EU regulations and policies shape the defence and aerospace supply chain, and EU-based suppliers and manufacturers must adhere in order to compete. These regulations and policies help to ensure that EU-based suppliers and manufacturers can compete effectively in the global defence and aerospace industries by establishing procurement rules, supporting the development of new technologies and capabilities, and promoting cooperation and collaboration among EU-based defence and aerospace companies.


There are several types of regulations and rules that EU-based suppliers and manufacturers must adhere to in order to continuously provide in the defence market. Some of these include:


  1. Defence Procurement Directive (DPD): This directive sets out rules for the procurement of defence-related goods and services by EU member states, which help to ensure that EU-based suppliers and manufacturers have equal access to defence contracts.

  2. Defence and Security Procurement Directive (DSPD): This directive aims to open up the defence and security market to competition from EU-based companies, and to promote the use of EU-based suppliers and manufacturers in the defence and aerospace supply chain.

  3. Cybersecurity regulations: EU has set out the EU Cybersecurity Act of 2019 which sets out a framework for the certification of ICT products and services used in the EU, to increase the security and resilience of these products and services, including those used in the defence and aerospace sector.

  4. Regulations for quality and reliability: EU regulations and policies also play a significant role in ensuring that defence and aerospace systems meet high standards of quality and reliability, which helps to protect the safety of EU citizens and to maintain the EU's reputation as a leading producer of defence and aerospace systems.

  5. Regulations on export control: EU countries have a common system of export control, which aims to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. This applies to military goods and technology, including dual-use items which can be used for both civil and military purposes.

  6. Regulations on State aid: EU regulations on state aid to companies are also relevant to the defence industry, as they aim to ensure that companies are not given an unfair advantage by government subsidies.

  7. Regulations on procurement: EU regulations on procurement also apply to the defence industry, and are intended to ensure that contracts are awarded on the basis of fair and open competition.


These regulations and rules are continually developing and susceptible to change; to remain competitive in the EU defence market, EU-based suppliers and manufacturers must keep current and comply with these regulations and standards.



EDIDP for a Greater Innovation Capacity in the EU’s Defense Industry




Additionally, EU-funded research and development programs also have helped to support the development and growth of EU-based suppliers and manufacturers. According to our analyses, here are some of the underlying factors that have contributed greatly when it comes to the role of EU-funded R&D programs that have strengthened the nature of collaboration within the defence supply chain.


  • EU-funded R&D programs provide financial support to EU-based suppliers and manufacturers, which helps them to invest in new technologies and capabilities, and to develop new products and services.

  • These programs provide access to cutting-edge technologies and expertise, which helps EU-based suppliers and manufacturers to stay at the forefront of technological innovation in the defence and aerospace sectors.

  • EU-funded R&D programs also promote cooperation and collaboration among EU-based companies, which helps to ensure that the EU remains competitive in the global defence and aerospace market.

  • These programs also encourage EU-based suppliers and manufacturers to invest in research and development and innovation, which is essential for the growth and sustainability of the defence and aerospace industry in the EU.

  • EU-funded R&D programs also provide opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the defence and aerospace sector to access funding, expertise, and networking opportunities which helps to promote the participation of small companies in these sectors and ensures a more diverse and sustainable supply chain.


Examples of programs that provide financial support, and access to cutting-edge technologies, promote collaboration, support SMEs, foster innovation, and ensure compliance with EU regulations and standards, which in turn helps the development and growth of EU-based suppliers and manufacturers within the A&D supply chain, are European Defence Fund (EDF), Defence Industrial Development Programme (DIDP), and Horizon Europe Funding.



Moreover, EU-NATO cooperation has a positive impact on the defence and aerospace supply chain by fostering collaboration and partnership between EU-based suppliers and manufacturers and NATO member countries.


The Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation outlines the framework for cooperation on defence-related issues, including the development and procurement of defence equipment and systems. This cooperation leads to joint procurement initiatives and mutual recognition of certification for defence equipment, which helps to increase the competitiveness of EU-based suppliers and manufacturers in the global market.


Another important aspect of EU-NATO cooperation is the promotion of the participation of SMEs in the defence sector, which helps to create a more diverse and sustainable supply chain. This allows for the participation of small and medium-sized companies in the defence sector, which in turn helps to promote innovation and competitiveness.


NATO and European Union leadership sign the third joint declaration on 10 January 2023.


EU and NATO collaboration on crisis management and peacekeeping operations provides EU-based suppliers and manufacturers opportunities to showcase their capabilities and products and access new markets. This helps to promote EU-based companies in the global market and makes them more competitive. Overall, EU-NATO cooperation plays a vital role in promoting collaboration and partnership between EU-based suppliers and manufacturers and NATO member countries, which has a positive impact on the defence and aerospace supply chain.


Finally, the EU's commitment to sustainability and environmental concerns is also important for EU-based suppliers and manufacturers in the defence and aerospace supply chain as it drives innovation and helps to address global issues.


As a reference, here is a list of the EU-based suppliers and manufacturers in the defence and aerospace that are strong and well-renowned


  1. Airbus: Airbus is a leading European aerospace company that manufactures commercial, military, and transport aircraft, as well as helicopters.

  2. BAE Systems: BAE Systems is a British multinational defence, security, and aerospace company that produces a wide range of military equipment, including aircraft, warships, and armoured vehicles.

  3. Leonardo: Leonardo is an Italian multinational company that specializes in the manufacture of aerospace, defence, and security systems.

  4. MBDA: MBDA is a European missile manufacturer that provides a wide range of missile systems for air, sea, and land-based platforms.

  5. Saab: Saab is a Swedish aerospace and defence company that produces a wide range of military equipment, including aircraft, missiles, and submarines.

  6. Thales: Thales is a French multinational company that specializes in the design and manufacture of electronic systems for the aerospace, defence, and transportation industries.

  7. Rheinmetall AG: Rheinmetall AG is a German multinational corporation that specializes in the production of military equipment, including tanks, artillery, and ammunition.

  8. Rolls-Royce Holdings: Rolls-Royce Holdings is a British multinational engineering company that specializes in the production of power systems, including aircraft engines and energy systems.

  9. Airbus Defence and Space: Airbus Defence and Space is a division of the Airbus Group that specializes in the production of military aircraft, satellites, and space exploration technology.

  10. Nexter Systems: Nexter Systems is a French company that specializes in the production of military equipment, including tanks, artillery, and ammunition.


Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and there are many other EU-based suppliers and manufacturers in the defence and aerospace industry. Also, some of the companies may have operations or subsidiaries outside of the EU.


Let us help you enter the Aerospace and Defence industry and win a government contract. Contact us at associate@premiumconcept.be for more information.

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