The electronics industry provides components and capabilities that are critical to modern defence requirements. It is anticipated that the effectiveness of both weapons systems and the command and control network that supports military operations will become increasingly dependent upon the electronics sub-systems they employ in the future. With the ascendancy of ‘network centric warfare’, it seems certain that defence electronics will continue to grow in importance in the future, enabling far-reaching advances in military capability and efficiency. Yet little is known about the structure, conduct, performance and competitiveness of the UK defence electronics sector as it prepares to meet the challenges ahead. This paper reports the findings of a study commissioned in 2002 by Intellect, the UK defence electronics trade association, and supported by the Department of Trade and Industry. The UK defence electronics industry is found to be a high technology, R&D-intensive and decreasing cost industry, which is competitive in world defence markets. The UK industry faces major competitive threats in the future from established US and European firms and from potential new entrants from China, India, Israel, Singapore, South Korea and Turkey. The future competitiveness of the UK defence electronics industry will depend on maintaining both technical advantage and open access to the large US market.
Dowdall, Paul, Derek Braddon & Keith Hartley, 2004. ‘The UK Defence Electronics Industry: Adjusting to Change’, Defence and Peace Economics 15(6): 565-586.