Aerospace and Advanced Engineering

Many years of success and growth within the Heart of the South West Aerospace and Advanced Engineering sector have produced a strong, established industry cluster, with an extensive supply chain.

The area’s companies excel in civil and defence industry areas, including advanced materials, metallic and measurement, autonomous systems, components and systems, electronics and photonics, life-cycle support, manufacturing, precision engineering, rotorcraft, space technology.

Global brands located in the Heart of the South West include Arconic, Eaton Aerospace, Flybe, Gooch &Housego, Honeywell, Leonardo Helicopters,MB Aerospace, Parker Hannifin, Spirent, Thales, Tods Aerospace,Trelleborg and UTC Aerospace Systems.

The University of Exeter, in the UK’s top 10, supports industry through the Centres for Alternative Materials and Remanufacturing, Advanced Technologies, the £2.6 million Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing and the Centre for Systems, Dynamics and Control.

The University of Plymouth’s Electron Microscopy Centre provides significant specialist support to the advanced engineering industry, and The Advanced Composites Manufacturing Centre is a leading R&D composites facility.

Innovation Aerospace (iAero) is a partnership of aerospace stakeholders, supported by leading companies including Airbus, GE Aviation, GKN Aerospace, Leonardo Helicopters and Rolls-Royce, working with the public sector, universities and the regional trade association the West of England Aerospace Forum. This unique South West programme will ensure that SMEs and the wider supply chain have access to future industry technology and skills requirements.



The Heart of the South West is an important partner within the South West Aerospace Cluster. South West Aerospace is the UK’s most diverse and capable aerospace cluster, which is:

  • Home to at least 15 industry giants and a complex supply-chain of over 800 companies.
  • Valued at £7 billion.
  • Supporting up to 98,000 jobs across the wider economy, around 20% of the UK aerospace workforce; the Cluster makes a phenomenal contribution to the UK industry.

Success Stories

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Plymouth Marine Laboratory
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Rigid Containers Limited
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Effect Photonics BV
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