Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) are a vital part of the UK’s defence industrial landscape. Whether working as part of a complex supply chain or directly with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) these businesses provide agility, innovation and dynamism in an industry that can, at times, move very slowly.

ADS has a membership of over 1000 businesses from across the UK, with SMEs accounting for 84% of our membership. The vast majority of these businesses are SMEs and many have an active interest in Defence.

ADS is at the heart of supporting and representing UK Defence SMEs through an array of activities, events and programmes that benefit our members. These include:

  • A dedicated Defence Team covering policy, export, commercial and business development

Our specialist team of experienced subject matter experts are on hand to provide guidance and support on a range of topics important to SME businesses.

  • A comprehensive engagement offer covering multi-domains and sectors: land, sea, air, space, cyber security & infrastructure

SME members can benefit from our industry groups and events with MOD and prime contractors that provide insight and opportunities to understand how they approach domain-specific warfare and the other functions of UK Defence.

  • Engagement opportunities with Front Line Commands and industry

ADS work closely with Primes, Mid-Tiers and the Front Line Commands (Land, Maritime, Air and Space) to ensure our members get the opportunity to engage directly through dedicated activity focusing on supply chain capability requirements.

  • An influential voice to Government

ADS engages regularly with MOD and other Government stakeholders on the regulatory and commercial policies, issues and barriers that directly affect UK Defence SMEs.

  • DSMEC – representing SME members and providing a dedicated forum

Our dedicated Defence SME and supply chain group DSMEC produces policy papers, helps direct market engagement and provides an SME voice within the wider ADS membership.

  • Supporting SMEs to win in the export market

ADS maintains a strong working relationship with UK Defence & Security Exports, UK Export Finance and the Export Control Joint Unit, and runs an active series of engagements for SME members to learn more about overseas market opportunities and exporting processes.

  • A network of expertise and communities of interest

With over 20 Defence focussed Special Interest Groups, Boards and Committees, ADS provide SMEs the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of sectors within Defence.

Upcoming Events

ADS have launched an autumn series of online events – ‘Supporting Defence SMEs’ – to give members an opportunity to further understand how ADS support our SME members and gain expert advice and insight from the ADS team, MOD and Government partners.

Webinar: Supporting Defence SMEs in the UK – Thursday 10 December, 14:00 – 15:00

Webinar: Supporting Defence SMEs in the Export Marketplace – Tuesday 15 December, 14:00 – 15:00

View the full programme of defence events

Find out more

To find out more about how ADS can support your requirements please contact Simon Levy, Head of UK Defence Business Development: E: