How our
business works

Most of our products and services are for military use, from large platforms and electronic systems to maintenance and support contracts. We have a growing cyber and intelligence business as our customer requirements evolve to deal with increasingly relevant cyber threats.
We operate in four principal markets – US, UK, Saudi Arabia and Australia. We also export products and services and this currently accounts for a significant percentage of our business and is an important source of growth.

How we do business

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Who we sell to

The majority of our customers are governments or other large defence primes selling to such governments. In the UK, defence equipment is purchased by the UK Ministry of Defence; in other countries we may sell directly to branches of the armed forces. Our non-military products and services - such as electronics, cyber protection services, and maintenance and support contracts – are sold to both businesses and governments.

Our sales process

The defence industry is subject to strict regulatory controls. We also maintain stringent internal controls that govern what we sell and to whom we sell. Primarily our Product Trading Policy and Responsible trading principles, help us make informed decisions about the business opportunities we pursue based on our values.

Export of controlled goods must be authorised by governments before a sale can proceed. Failure to comply with all relevant laws and regulations could result in serious penalties for BAE Systems and the individuals concerned, and could harm national security and foreign policy interests. Our system for compliance with export controls is designed to ensure compliance, as well as detect and provide timely responses to actual or suspected violations, including prompt investigations and appropriate remedial actions.


We engage with governments and policymakers to represent industry views and discuss any potential implications of public policy on issues related to our business. Governments are also major customers and we engage with relevant departments to champion BAE Systems’ solutions for national defence and security requirements and export opportunities.

Our emphasis is on openness and transparency. Anyone interacting with governments on our behalf – whether an employee or a third party - must comply with our Code of Conduct and other relevant policies. We do not donate to or support fundraising events for political parties.


Offset arrangements are often an important element of the evaluation process for defence contracts with export customers. These are designed to generate employment, build capability or create economic value in the customer’s country. See the summary of our Offset Policy in the Policy summaries page.


Our Operational Framework governs how we do business wherever we operate. Summaries of key policies from the Framework can be found on the Policy summaries page, together with our Code of Conduct.

Our contract process

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