1st Edition

Understanding UK Defence Exports The International Trade in Defence Capabilities

By John Louth Copyright 2023
    156 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a comprehensive overview of UK defence exports, as an example of the international trade in defence capabilities.

    The work explores the subject of defence exports from the UK through various lenses, ranging from ethics, geopolitics, and national resilience to technology transfer, industrial partnering and military cooperation. By unveiling a multi-perspective model of defence exports, the book reveals the arms trade to be possessed of many meanings and understandings. At a moment in world history when the threat of state-on-state conflict has re-emerged, wedded to rapid technological changes in the practice of warfare, it is time to reassess the dynamics of the trade in arms through the experiences of the UK – a case study of defence exports from a mature democracy with a well-established military and defence industrial sector. Building upon extensive applied research across the UK defence environment, the work positions defence exports at the centre of a cat’s cradle of multiple drivers and understandings, from the geopolitical to the commercial. Traditional and refreshed ethical arguments relating to the arms trade in the 21st century are also presented and explored which, together, reshape our knowledge and consideration of the roles of defence exports and the challenges that reside in its practice. With extensive access to ministers, policymakers, industrialists, campaigners and military commanders, the author is well-placed to deliver an appreciation of these multiple perspectives and explanations of defence exports, which are presented in an accessible manner for readers.

    This book will be of much interest to students of defence and security studies, British politics and International Relations, as well as policymakers.

    1. Introduction: The UK Trade in Arms: Exports – An End to Certainty?

    2. Defence Exports and Ethics

    3. Geopolitics and Defence Exports

    4. National Economic Prosperity and Defence Exports

    5. Defence Exports: A Function of Business and Commerce

    6. Defence Exports and International Development

    7. Defence Exports and National Resilience

    8. Technologies, Transfers and Defence Exports

    9. "Partnering" and Defence Exports

    10. Defence Exports and Military Cooperation

    11. Conclusion


    John Louth is a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee. He is a co-author of British Defence in the 21st Century (2019).