Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing

World class industry expertise

Stevenage is home to world class expertise in aerospace and defence, with key legacy linkages to British Aerospace, electronics and space and satellites technologies. It supports a vibrant ecosystem of leading science, technology, engineering and manufacturing companies.

Global Giants include Airbus Defence and Space, MBDA and VIAVI Solutions along with a vast supply chain of companies supporting precision products and specialist services. Stevenage is also home to a number of niche companies supporting composite materials, components, additive manufacturing and digital process engineering.


A number of significant trends and drivers have supported the growth of the sector, including the increase in defence budgets through increase in national security spend. Science and technology trends and drivers, including the Internet of Things have transformed the aerospace sector assisting assembly, manufacture and safety; composites; energy storage and global innovation in advanced manufacturing.

Major research-intensive businesses


Stevenage’s major research-intensive businesses include Airbus, an international pioneer in the aerospace industry and a world leader in the space industry. Airbus is a significant contributor to the Scientific Research and Development and Manufacture of other transport equipment industry specialisms that are of significant importance for employment nationally. Many of the key businesses and research organisations within the sector are internationally connected and are involved in international research collaborations, including Airbus who are part of multinational companies which have headquarters outside of the UK.

Airbus supports an innovative ecosystem through the world by leading on research and activities undertaken at the site in Stevenage. Airbus Defence and Space is a world leader in aerospace and defence and leading supplier of satellites, launchers and space services and part of a £14.8 billion UK Space Sector.

Stevenage is the heart of the UK space industry and employs over 1,500 scientists, engineers and technicians at the site. Airbus Defence and Space is the UK’s largest space company and the second largest space company in the world, with turnover in excess of £1 billion and a leader in significant space programmes. It supports 70% of the UK’s space industry, providing a vital national industrial capability and driving a diverse space supply chain that spans the UK. The Stevenage site is the headquarters for satellite design, development and manufacture of Telecommunication, Scientific, Earth Observation and Meteorology Satellites, Planetary Surface Robotics, spacecraft structures, propulsion systems, mechanisms and antennas, delivering global solutions in climate change monitoring and communications.  The Stevenage site contributes to building 25% of the world’s telecommunications satellites.

Airbus Defence and Space’s 2017 Solar Orbiter Satellite research and development programmes

Stevenage is home to Airbus Defence and Space’s 2017 Solar Orbiter Satellite research and development programmes, which include the European Space Agency’s Lisa Pathfinder mission to prove the technology to discover gravitational waves, and the Sentinel 5P and Aeolus wind sensing satellite pivotal to building Biomass, the ESA mission to measure the world’s forests from space. Airbus also designed, built, manage and own the Skynet 5 milsatcom constellation for the Mistry of Defence.  This has provided the country’s armed forces with a vital link with their families and friends through secure global military satellite communicaitons.

Mission to Mars, fighting climate change

The Stevenage site has also been instrumental in supporting Airbus, as lead for the Gallileo programme, the global satellite navigation systems (GPS) which supports a number of sectors and emerging new technologies. Stevenage is home to Airbus Defence and Space European Space Agency’s ExoMars Rover mission, Europe’s first interplanetary rover to another planet. It is due to be launched in 2022. Airbus Space and Defence’s site in Stevenage also supported the assembly of the European Space Agency/European Union Sentinel-5P satellite, monitoring the entire planet’s daily air pollution, gathering vital environmental data to support authorities to make more accurate air quality forecasts.

Investment in future scientists and engineers

Airbus’s investment in the Airbus Foundation “Discovering Space STEM Skills Centre based around the Mars Rover test facility, aims to inspire future generations into STEM based learning and supporting the shortage of national skills relating to STEM, including scientists and engineers.

Future Technology

Airbus Defence and Space’s space satellites technologies support a number of sectors and new technologies and provide greater high resolution imagery for the creative, tourism, farming and fisheries, food, agri-tech, leading edge healthcare and medicine and bioscience and biotechnology sectors. Their space satellites technologies also provide greater connectivity for smart cities, smart vehicles, broadband, robots, GPS reliant models and remote healthcare delivery.

Airbus Defence and Space is also a significant contributor to the Herts £3.5 billion economy, which accounts for almost 70% of Britain’s entire R&D spending.

Airbus’ new £35 million UK space and defence headquarters in Stevenage

“Stevenage is the beating heart of space manufacturing, a world leading industry,”

Airbus recently opened the state of the art, new space and defence headquarters in Stevenage, Orbit House. Orbit House will be home to 500 space engineers and experts and supports Airbus’ continued investment in British space capability and towards the UKs plan to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.

Stevenage is also home to MBDA a global leader in the defence and manufacture of missiles and missile systems.  MBDA, based in Stevenage, is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. The site in Stevenage has led development work on the Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone missile, used by the crews of the RAF Tornado GR4 and the Typhoon F2 aircrafts and considered to be unrivalled in terms of precision. In 2014 MBDA won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

Market and Opportunity

Across the UK, there are more than 100,000 advanced manufacturing companies in the UK, employing over 2m, with over 4,000 employing engineering companies with over 100 employees. In 2020, R&D spending in the UK was over £15.3bn in 2020, rising by 4.4% from £15.3bn in 2019 to support innovation in manufacturing, health and wellbeing, food security key to sectors supported by Stevenage’s business base. Manufacturing generates 70% of exports from developed and emerging manufacturing economies and attracts up to 90% of commercial R&D expenditure.

Count 2,610

Employment 45,643

Employees 45,212

Turnover £10,193,947,000

In 2019 the manufacturing sector accounted for 12.8% of all jobs in Stevenage, employing 6,000 people. This is above the GB 8% average. The sector has grown steadily since 2015, continuing to rise above the GB average. This was through activities at MBDA; Airbus Space and Defence; with manufacturing of air and spacecraft and related machinery and Allied Bakeries; manufacturing of bread.

In 2019, Stevenage hosted 6,000 jobs (12.8%) in the Professional, Scientific and Technical activities in comparison to the GB average of 8.8%. (3,141,000). Advanced Manufacturing contributed to over £10bn to the Hertfordshire economy, with over 45,000 employees supported by the sector.

VIAVI Solutions

VIAVI Solutions based in Stevenage, delivers highly specialised test and measurement equipment and microelectronic solutions to the aerospace and defence industries. The company also provides a wide range of test instrumentation with expertise in signal generators, signal analysers, microwave, automated testing systems, and wireless/radio testing. VIAVI Solutions are an industry leader in wireless system testing for 2G, 2.5G and 5G technologies.


Stevenage is home to Meggitt, a pioneering solutions provider for the design and manufacture of high performance components and sub-systems for aerospace, including; jet liners, regional aircraft and business jet and defence markets; fixed wing and rotary aircraft, ground vehicles selected and energy markets; power generation, oil and gas, medical and automotive.  Meggitt have an extensive supply chain; including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier, General Electric, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Leonardo, Proponent, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Textron, and the US Government. The Stevenage site is a specialist site for cutting-edge radome development and manufacture.

Astute Electronics

Astute Electronics Ltd have their HQ located in Stevenage and are a global electronics components distribution company supporting industrial businesses in the Aerospace and Defence, medical, automotive, telecoms and oil and gas sectorsAstute Electronics along with many other manufacturing companies support a number of sectors and are constantly  supporting innovation to grow and diversify their business, to meet continual market changes.  Astute Electronics were the first company in the UK and US to receive accreditation for the AS6081, for the distribution of Electrical, Electronic and Electromechanical Parts for the Aerospace Industry.


Stevenage is also home to Nemco are one of the UK’s leading contract electronic manufacturer providing product solutions to a number of sectors including defence, aerospace, communication, automotive and transportation, industrial and instrumentation in the nuclear, oil and gas production markets, renewable energy and medical and laboratory equipment.

Global Invacom based in Stevenage are a world leader in satellite broadcast solutions, designing and manufacturing for a number of sectors as well as providing components for use in health care, industrial and scientific arenas; communications; aerospace and defence.

Global Invacom

Global Invacom based in Stevenage are a world leader in satellite broadcast solutions, designing and manufacturing for a number of sectors as well as providing components for use in health care, industrial and scientific arenas; communications; aerospace and defence.

Manufacturing strengths and capabilities

Stevenage is home to a number of supply chain companies supporting precision products and specialist services to the manufacturing sector. It also supports many niche companies providing composite materials, components, additive manufacturing and digital process engineering.

M10 Edge Ltd – manufacture precision diamond tools and provides expertise and knowledge to support tools, prototype services and machined support manufacturing facilities. They provide manufacturers with a number of unique R&D Solutions to support manufacturing needs. M10 Edge Ltd support strong performance in innovation in science and R&D. Their innovative and R&D solutions support a number of sectors including; defence and aerospace, electro-optics, automotive, consumer products, medical, safety and security.

Neptune Engineering – moulding tool manufacturers and injection moulding specialists. At their state of the art facility in Stevenage, they support the latest technologies and techniques and bring a wealth of knowledge within precision engineering. Neptune Engineering provides turnkey solutions to clients and supporting the manufacturing industry with precision machine inserts from prototype to batch production. – They support a number of industries and also an impressive client list including Honeywell, Aegg, British Rototherm to name a few.

SD Precision Group Ltd – specialist precision component manufacturers with a number of unique capabilities.  They support turnkey manufacturing services for a number of sectors including; audio, optical, motorsport, Pharmaceutical and Scientific lab equipment, Space and Aerospace. SD Precision Group Ltd have an impressive client list including Airbus Defence and Space, Glaxo Smith Kline, Lockhead Martin, Thales to name a few.

Freeform Fabrication Ltd – support global manufacturing companies with the supply and  implementation of the latest technology tools. Supporting increased business productivity, they provide high-quality products and services including, Wax 3D printers for jewellery and high precision investment, 3D printer casting engineering printers and 3D scanners and laser welders for precious and non-precious metals.

Stevenage Circuits  – world class suppliers of printed circuits, supporting both the design and manufacturing of PCBs. They support a number of sectors including, defence and aerospace, automotive, medical devices, oil and gas, nuclear, global communications and telecommunications.

Phosphor Technology – develop and manufacture high-quality inorganic phosphors. They have over 40 years of experience in the field of luminescence and continue to support technical innovations and product improvement in their field to support customer solutions.  Phosphor Technology continue to invest in R&D and support phosphors for a number of industries including, x-ray applications, plasma displays, edition prints, admission tickets to events, passports and much more.

Wrimes Cosmeticsmanufacturing and filling experts to the cosmetic, toiletries and skin care products industry. They support full manufacturing packages from design and development to the finished product and support an international market.

Esprit Digitalmanufacturing global custom built digital display solutions for over 20 years. This includes award ward winning solutions featuring in over 30 countries, supporting both indoor and outdoor solutions and interactive screens. Esprit Digital have designed, manufactured and installed a number of the world’s most iconic largescale digital advertising screens for clients including, Westfield, JCDecaux, Ocean, Primark and Virgin.  Their highly innovative solutions have resulted in a number of world firsts; including the World’s First digital escalator at Totenham Court Road Station on the London underground, the world’s first double sized large format portrait advertising kiosks, including touch screens and wayfinding  and the World’s first large format digital bus shelters for ClearChannel to name a few. They continue to innovate and support futuristic solutions for an ever changing world.

Elecro Engineering Ltd – provide innovative water heating solutions for customers specialising in swimming pool, spa and aquatic heating and disinfection products. They are global leading manufacturers of electric water heaters, heat exchangers, disinfection equipment and solar heaters. Elecro Engineering Ltd have products in over 70 countries nationwide.

Concept Research Ltd – global producers and distributors of high tech ultrasonic pest deterrents. Operating for over 25 years, all their ultrasonic deterrents are designed and manufactured in Great Britain.

Orion Safety Beltsleading suppliers of seat belts and safety systems to the aviation, commercial vehicles, emergency services, roller coasters industries.



Its strategic road, rail and air links makes Stevenage a highly attractive and accessible location for the Life Sciences sector. It is has excellent connectivity to London, Cambridge and Oxford, the rest of the UK, Europe and the world. Its excellent transport infrastructure provides you with global connectivity. Stevenage is located between J7 and J8 on the A1 (M) providing great connectivity north and south. It is well served by major road networks from London (including the M25, M1, A1(M) and A10 motorways. Stevenage is situated on the main East Coast London to Edinburgh railway line with direct services to London, Cambridge, Peterborough, Leeds, York and Glasgow Central, to provide fast and easy travel across the UK.  Stevenage mainline railway station provides a fast and frequent service to London Kings Cross.  Stevenage also boasts easy access to 3 international airports, all within 45 minutes’ drive.


Stevenage’s engineering and manufacturing businesses benefit from a number of business grant programmes including:

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