Aerospace and defence

Aerospace and defence are high risk sectors – and the sums at stake can be very large. With deep knowledge of these sectors, our lawyers can help you to navigate the risks, challenges and opportunities facing your business and provide innovative solutions.

> Our aerospace and defence lawyers
> Our experience in the aerospace and defence sectors
> Our clients
> What our clients and others say about us
> Legal resources you may find useful

Helping you to prosper in the current marketplace

Aerospace and defence companies are facing widely differing issues. Defence firms must tackle challenges around shrinking markets, while many aerospace companies are thriving, but are faced with massive aircraft order backlogs.

Whatever your legal requirements, we can help. We have extensive experience advising clients on: 

  • Partnering arrangements 
  • Mergers and acquisitions 
  • Defence procurement 
  • Maintenance contracts 
  • Long-term supply agreements

We advise top clients in the public and private sectors, ranging from the Ministry of Defence to global defence companies and leading airlines.
Our aerospace and defence team offers deep, specialist knowledge. With extensive experience helping clients both in the UK and overseas, we really understand the challenges and the opportunities facing your business – and we bring this expertise to the negotiation table.

To help your business grow and target new markets overseas, we also offer access to our well established network of partner law firms across the globe. 

Our aerospace and defence lawyers  

Our cross-firm aerospace and defence sector team, which is led by Raith Pickup and Richard Lobban, brings together the expertise of over 20 dedicated lawyers. 

Members of our team have been on secondment to the Ministry of Defence, a global defence company and a leading UK airline. 

Our lawyers are recognised in both Legal 500 and Chambers UK as leading individuals in a number of areas, including projects, corporate, commercial, employment, banking, intellectual property and commercial disputes.

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Our experience in the aerospace and defence sectors

We have considerable experience advising aerospace and defence clients on a wide range of legal issues. Some examples include the following: 

  • We have a strong track record of working with the UK Ministry of Defence, advising on several projects with a combined value of over £2 billion. This has included, among other things, advising on: availability contracts with BAE Systems for the Harrier and Typhoon jets, a Type 45 Destroyer In-Service Support Contract with BVT Surface Fleet Support, engine contracts with Rolls-Royce and the outsourcing of army recruitment services 
  • Advising the Defence Infrastructure Organisation of the UK Ministry of Defence on a range of property matters 
  • Advising Swiss based Jet Aviation (a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation) on the sale of its private jet operations at Biggin Hill 
  • Supporting French aviation company Egis Avia on its acquisition of Helios Technology, an air traffic control and airport management consultancy based in Farnborough and Žilina in Slovakia 
  • Advising a precision components supplier on a long term supply agreement with a global aerospace company 
  • Advising on a teaming agreement in relation to the Joint Strike Fighter Program for an electronics supplier 
  • Advising a UK aircraft support services business on a range of commercial matters, including technical support contracts and rate-per-flying-hour contracts with both airline operators and suppliers 
  • Successfully defending a UK airport on a Health & Safety Executive prosecution 
  • Acting for a satellite communications supplier and a naval defence supplier in high value claims in both international arbitration and in the Commercial Court against an African government in relation to civil and military communications, security and defence related contracts

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    Our clients

    Our clients in the aerospace and defence sectors include: 

    • Ministry of Defence 
    • Defence Infrastructure Organisation 
    • A leading family owned, multimillion-pound aerospace and defence company 
    • A substantial privately owned, precision components manufacturer 
    • Tier 1, 2 and 3 companies in the aerospace and defence supply chain

    What our clients and others say about us  

    • “The strength in depth of [the] team is tremendous. [We] could not have finalised the contract in the timescale without Mills & Reeve. We were delighted to achieve the demanding deadline we had been set. This would not have been possible without Mills & Reeve’s support, commitment and professionalism.” Ministry of Defence 
    • Raith Pickup has been described as “commercial and deal driven”, “great fun to work with”, “extremely astute and good humoured” and a “fantastic negotiator who always gets what he wants without upsetting anyone” in legal directories such as Legal 500 and Chambers UK
    • Richard Lobban has been described by a global defence company, to which he was seconded, as a lawyer who “picked up the challenges with relish” and provided “practical solutions”, while others have commented on Richard’s “commitment” and “sacrifice” to get the job done.

    Legal resources you may find useful

    • Technology Law Update: Updates, opinions and the latest UK technology law news in a blog by our technology lawyers.
    • HR Law Live: Our employment law blog written by our team of specialist employment lawyers, with regular commentary on the latest legal and policy updates in the human resources sector.

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