Leonardo in the UK

Leonardo in the UK

Leonardo is one of the biggest suppliers of defence equipment to the UK MoD and the largest Italian inward investor to the UK.


The company generates exports worth around £1.3bn to the UK economy every year.


Our long-term investment in emerging technologies and subsequent development of intellectual property in the UK is achieving export success and delivering huge economic benefits back into the UK, enabling investment in highly skilled jobs and helping to rebalance the UK’s economy.

Leonardo in the UK



Building Skills for the Future

Leonardo employs around 7,000 people throughout the UK, 67% of whom hold highly skilled positions.


We are one of the largest employers of engineering apprentices and graduates in the UK, with some 415 people on undergraduate, graduate and apprentice training programmes.  Our apprenticeship programme was rated as ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED.


In the UK Leonardo spends around £3.5 million on employee training and development annually, providing young people with the opportunity to gain qualifications through on-the job training, whilst simultaneously undertaking academic study.


Leonardo is a member of the 5% Club, through which the Company has committed to deliver 5% of its UK workforce on graduate and apprentice programmes within 5 years.  We are proud to be exceeding this target, with 9% of the workforce currently on graduate and apprentice programmes.


Leonardo actively supports education and skills development through partnerships with schools, colleges and universities throughout the country, investing substantially in school engagement and supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) curriculums.


Leonardo is committed to maintaining a skilled and diverse workforce and recognises the need to expand the UK’s pool of engineering resources. We are focussed on encouraging females into technology and engineering – in schools, through university, and into working life, actively supporting initiatives to encourage greater participation amongst young people, particularly women, in STEM.


Leonardo’s Electronics, Defence & Security Systems Divisions were first to achieve the Investors in Young People (IIYP) Gold accreditation, across the Engineering and Aerospace sectors, reflecting the company’s commitment to supporting young peoples’ educational development.

Supply Chain

A strong and diverse supply chain

Leonardo has six major sites across the UK, each bringing investment into the local economy and wider region through strong links with supply chain companies in the surrounding areas. We spend around £650m with around 2,300 companies in our UK supply chain every year.


The supply chain in the UK is critical to Leonardo’s advanced engineering businesses. The UK’s strong science base and the Government’s long-term investment in skills continue to drive the development of future technologies within the supply chain. This enables us to deliver the leading-edge capability that is vital for growth in the UK defence sector.


Investing in the Future

Leonardo invests around £200m in the UK (around 10% of turnover) in Research and Development. Continued investment in innovation is enabling Leonardo to deliver some of the UK’s most advanced technology programmes such as the new generation radar for the RAF’s Typhoon combat aircraft. At the same time, investment in emerging technologies has facilitated the creation of products such as our Infra-Red cameras which have revolutionised wildlife photography and provide critical insight for cricket umpires, through the game-changing the ‘Hot Spot’ system.


Exports of technology such as the AW101 Search and Rescue helicopter and AW159 Wildcat have supported reinvestment in UK research for the next generation of advanced helicopter capabilities. The increasing demand and successful export of leading technologies such as these is driving investment in new, innovative solutions.


Collaboration on UK Innovation

Leonardo in the UK partners with over 40 universities on research and education projects. Through work with some of the UK’s most renowned universities including Edinburgh, Bristol and Liverpool, Leonardo is investing in future research to maintain the UK’s position as a leader in world-wide technological innovation.


Leonardo generates exports worth over £1 billion to the UK economy every year. Growing exports from the UK is one of the pillars of Leonardo’s strategy for the future. Our support to the UK Armed Forces as they use our systems and platforms on operations is a significant reference case for our many export customers.

 Read more on how our exports are supporting UK prosperity