Sovereign capability: How can we make, buy and sell British?

As a UK-listed and UK headquartered international defence company, we understand the importance of working collaboratively with the UK Government to deliver the capability needed by our Armed Forces. Given the geopolitical changes experienced over recent years, national security has never been more important.

Despite our growing international presence, the UK remains our primary market. We are the UK’s second largest defence supplier, contributing over £3.3bn a year to the UK’s GDP and working with the Ministry of Defence across more critical programmes than any other company. We employ 22,000 people across the UK and our work with the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force accounts for around eight per cent of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) total procurement spend.

As a strategic supplier to the UK Government, we welcome the priorities set out in the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS) and articulated in the vision of a “UK [that] continues to have competitive, innovative and world-class defence and security industries, that drive investment and prosperity, and which underpin our national security now and in the future’[1]

Many of our sites are strategically important to the UK as well as to Babcock. From building warships in Scotland, to ensuring the British Army has the vehicles and weapons it needs from our sites in the Midlands and South, to carrying out the deep maintenance of nuclear submarines in the South West, we are committed to making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate; providing high-quality jobs and delivering social and economic sustainability.

Babcock’s dockyard at Rosyth is home to one of the largest marine manufacturing and repair facilities in the UK. With easy access to the North Sea and significant site investment in recent years to support our naval and commercial business streams, Rosyth is now proudly the most modern, capable and competitive warship building facility in the UK.

Rosyth has seen some of the very largest of these national shipbuilding projects in recent years, from building the Aircraft Carriers to delivering the Type 31 frigates. As a result the site has seen investment of more than £200 million enabling it, and Babcock, to deliver these vital defence programmes. These years of investment have compounded, meaning that each round of development has made the site more innovative, more productive and has allowed us to create more highly skilled jobs both in our workforce and in the wider local supply chain.

From Scotland, to the South West of England now: Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard facility is co-located with HM Naval Base Devonport to form the largest naval support site in Western Europe. Working in partnership with the MOD, we provide through-life support for submarines, surface ships and associated systems and equipment as part of our continuing commitment to support our nation’s naval capability.

Devonport is a busy operational, training and support base for both submarines and surface ships including visiting international naval vessels. and includes the UK’s sole licensed site for the refitting and refuel/defuel of nuclear-powered submarines allowing them and their crews to undertake critical global and national security missions. 

We are currently six years into a Major Infrastructure Programme at Devonport where around £1 billion will have been invested in the site by the end of the current financial year. The decade-long programme will provide not only enhanced naval support capability for the Royal Navy, but also state of the art manufacturing facilities for another MOD asset, the Jackal High Mobility Military Transporter, which will create around 100 jobs in the region. And all this exciting activity stands to benefit from the recently announced Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, which will create a national hub for trade and investment, promote regeneration and job creation and allow a hotbed for innovation to develop in this region of the UK. Babcock, as a UK company, will always invest in the UK, through our sites, our people, our facilities, and our supply chain – of which more than 30 per cent are Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – to deliver the capability that the UK’s Armed Forces and our export customers need, when and where they need it. We look forward to continuing to work with the UK Government, to create prosperity across the country and security around the world – creating a safe and secure world, together.

[1] Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (