SC21 programme

SC21 is a programme designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence sector by raising the performance of its supply chains. It is endorsed by the MoD and the major UK aerospace and defence companies.

The SC21 national programme is led by ADS, collaborating with participant companies, customers, Regional Trade Associations (Farnborough Aerospace Consortium, Midlands Aerospace Alliance, North West Aerospace Alliance and West of England Aerospace Forum) and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England and in the devolved regions by Invest Northern Ireland, Scottish Enterprise and the Welsh Government.


SC21 is a voluntary programme and becoming a participant is free.

It is part of the ladder of Aerospace and Defence Supply Chain improvement programmes that incorporates SC21 Operational Excellence (OE), SC21 Competitiveness & Growth (C&G) and Sharing in Growth. Over its lifetime, the programme has had over 880 active participating companies signed up to the principles of SC21, and engaged in a continuous performance improvement journey, culminating in the achievement of industry-recognised performance standard awards.

We are delighted to announce that the formal request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for SC21 C&G Providers has now been opened along with a further call for SC21 C&G Beneficiaries.

The programme provides a simple standard improvement framework which defines performance goals and standardizes the approach and tools for continuous sustainable improvement. These reflect the exacting requirements of some of the major Aerospace and Defence organisations worldwide. Participants achieving and maintaining agreed criteria in terms of delivery, quality, sustainable improvement and the associated improvement frameworks (business, manufacturing and relationship excellence) receive national recognition in the form of a Bronze, Silver or Gold Performance Standard Award.


SC21 is based on a proven model: since its launch, over 800 performance standard awards have been achieved and participants’ business excellence scores have consistently increased. The programme has also been endorsed as part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership’s Competitiveness Charter.


SC21 represents a great opportunity, particularly for small and medium sized companies, to improve their performance via a nationally recognised standard. As a result, the Aerospace and Defence supply chain is better able to offer the right products and services, at the right time and ahead of competition. This ensures that more market opportunities are exploited, with higher volumes of work retained in the UK.


To find out more about the programme or how to join it visit