United Kingdom News
DSEI, London, UK, 13 September 2023 – Lockheed Martin today announced the official launch of its UK Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) ecosystem, SMEUNITE®. This new technical business network is the first of its kind in the UK defence sector and works to uncover opportunities for UK-based SMEs to collaborate on Lockheed Martin’s current and future programmes with a focus on innovative and affordable solutions for customers through a strong, diverse and agile supply chain.
SMEUNITE® offers SMEs the opportunity to contribute to UK defence and break down barriers that prevent them from fulfilling their potential of contributing to UK prosperity. Importantly, the framework supports a wide variety of high-quality jobs across all four nations of the UK.
Over 65 UK SME’s, some of whom have not had access to work in the defence sector previously, have already joined SMEUNITE® and have begun contributing to Lockheed Martin programmes. These SMEs are based all over the UK and their involvement in SMEUNITE® is already bringing valuable work to economically deprived areas of the UK that HM Government is working to level up. Lockheed Martin is calling for more SMEs to join the new ecosystem, developing opportunities and capabilities throughout the country.
“As a Prime Systems Integrator to UK Government we know SMEs are critical for a vibrant and flexible UK defence industry. We need cutting-edge and innovative suppliers to see defence as a priority market, bringing the very latest technological advances to maintain the UK military’s battle-winning edge,” said Paul Livingston, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK. “For more than 80 years we have been developing and delivering security critical solutions to our customers here in the UK, and SMEs are an integral part of that journey.”
“Small and Medium Enterprises are crucial for the long-term health of the UK Defence supply chain as we all work together to protect our nation and help it prosper.” said the MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support CEO, Andy Start, said,
"Under our Today, Tomorrow, Together strategy we aim to work closer than ever with suppliers of all sizes to ensure the best possible equipment, for the best possible value, reaches our armed forces when and where they need it. It’s great to see a prime contractor like Lockheed Martin setting up this exciting initiative supporting SMEs, which will hopefully foster more competition for future MOD contracts.”
“The SMEUNITE® programme is a genuinely ground-breaking initiative in the UK for SMEs to engage with a global Prime such as Lockheed Martin, and we are delighted to see them launch this important programme at DSEi 2023,” said Andrew Kinniburgh, Director General, Make UK Defence. “We look forward to working with them and our 400+ members as the programme develops and matures. We are also delighted that Lockheed Martin have responded to Make UK Defence’s challenge to publish their annual SME spend. We hope that the other UK Primes will follow this example.”
Lockheed Martin has a UK supplier network of over 500 companies, 75% of which are SMEs. Over and since the COVID pandemic, accelerated payments have been made of almost £1 billion to British companies to sustain their businesses and output. This is in addition to being a signatory to the prompt payment code and the SME Action Plan. The F-35 programme alone has contributed at least £3.3 billion of knowledge transfer and £29.7 million of training and technical assistance to British companies in areas from digital manufacturing to ‘stealth’ technologies. It has also invested over £600 million in capital infrastructure.
SMEUNITE® provides an easy-to-use toolset for easy onboarding, provides an array of business resources, advice and networking events. Find out more at and join the framework at https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-gb/suppliers.html