The defence industry

Composites for Defence & Space

Composites for defence help keep Britain safe and are one of the UK's key export industries. Next generation weapon systems, combat and support vehicles need to be lighter and more efficient but just as reliable, durable and safe. Composites make this possible while also opening up new opportunities for embedding functionality. Space is a critical national infrastructure, and we increasingly rely on services from space which composites help make possible. Light, strong and durable, composites are key to the next generation of UK designed launchers and space craft. 

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The National Composites Centre is a strategic partner in the development of composite structures for the next generation of fighter combat aircraft for both crewed and uncrewed aircraft. Our team develops novel design, materials and manufacturing processes to deliver a step change in the way these platforms are made, and to ensure the UK Front-Line Commands remain at the vanguard.


We support firms looking to deliver step changes in combat environment performance while also improving platform durability and survivability.


We are a trusted advisor to the Ministry of Defence for composites repair, maintenance, and design in the marine environment. We help the Royal Navy define standards composites in future submarines and ships, as well as those currently in-service.


The National Composites Centre supports a wide range of organisations, particularly SMEs and universities, in the use of composites for space, working on everything from rocket launch vehicle structures to in-orbit satellite manufacturing platforms.

Want to work with us? Talk to the Defence & Space team about your projects

What we do

Conceptual design and prototyping

Read more about Conceptual design and prototyping

Conceptual design and prototyping

We help organisations in the Defence & Space sectors develop novel approaches in composites design that deliver significant step changes in performance. We guide them through all aspects, from requirements capture to collaborative workshop sessions to define the approach, iterative solution development and access to a diverse supplier community to utilise the best technologies and materials.

Best fit solutions

The National Composites Centre supports customers to find the right composites technology and process solutions that best fit their needs. Our team of independent and impartial specialist composites engineers draw on their expertise and in-house tools to assess, score and rank technology options so customers can be confident they are making informed decisions.

Collaborative R&D

The National Composites Centre works with all Ministry of Defence executive agencies to help identify and apply new composite technologies across priority UK defence programmes. Our Defence & Space team is a trusted advisor in composites, working to support the Front-Line Commands with innovation and Technology Pull-Through, to ensure the Ministry of Defence has the best-possible intelligence on composites technology.

News and Events

  • Titanic Museum, Belfast
    Read more about SAMPE EUROPE 24 Conference

    SAMPE EUROPE 24 Conference

    24 - 26 Sep 2024
    Themed “Advanced & Sustainable Composites”, discussions will focus on the challenging applications in composites encompassing advanced composites materials, their processes, research, and development. Sponsored by the NCC, our engineering experts will be available throughout the conference to discuss engineering challenges and solutions.
  • Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
    Read more about International Composites Summit 2024

    International Composites Summit 2024

    04 - 05 Sep 2024
    Matt Scott, Chief Engineer for Capability and Vicky Summers, Principal Research Engineer for Sustainability will be presenting at the International Composites Summit (ICS). The event is considered the single place to do the most cost effective and sustainable composites business in the UK, bringing together industry leaders, researchers, and innovators from across the composites sector.
  • Farnborough
    Read more about Farnborough International Airshow

    Farnborough International Airshow

    22 - 26 Jul 2024
    The National Composites Centre will be participating in Farnborough International Airshow 2024, with the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult and its Centres, exhibiting on the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) stand.

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