The defence industry

Composites for Defence & Space

Composites for defence help keep Britain safe and are one of our 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

  • British Motor Musuem, Gaydon
    Read more about Engineering Solutions Live

    Engineering Solutions Live

    21 Mar 2024
    Marc Funnell, Head of Digital Engineering at the National Composites Centre will be presenting on the topic of 'Towards Certification by Analysis – the potential role of Digital Twinning in regulatory frameworks'. Engineering Materials Live is a UK focused, specialist advanced materials event for design and production engineers.
  • National Composites Centre, Bristol
    Read more about Technology Day 6 - Joining Technology for Composites in Defence

    Technology Day 6 - Joining Technology for Composites in Defence

    04 Oct 2023
    We are partnering with TWI for our next Technology Day.

    For our next Technology Day, we’re diving deep into the realm of joining composites in Defence applications. This event is a unique opportunity for academics, the supply chain, and experts in the field, to come together and explore the cutting-edge world of composite materials. Join us as we unlock the potential of these advanced materials and their integration into the Defence sector.

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