Research & development

Instrumental for a sustainable and competitive future

In 2022, the collective expenditure on research and development (R&D) in the aeronautics and defence sectors, funded by both industry and governments, reached an estimated €23.2bn. This represented a notable 18.5% increase when compared to the 2021 figures. The allocation of this expenditure was divided, with approximately 44% designated for civil activities, and the remaining 56% directed towards military initiatives.

Leonardo turbine engine

R&D figures for 2022

  • 23.2 bn

    R&D investments, ASD 2022

    for aerospace and defence sectors.

  • 18.5 %

    Increase in R&D expenditure

    year-on-year, funded by both industry and governments in aeronautics and defence sectors.

  • 44 %

    Share directed towards civil activities

    Most of the investment comes from the private sector, driven by both increased spending from the traditional aerospace industry as well as a number of private investors.

  • 8 bn

    European Defense Fund budget

    For years 2021-2027. €2.7bn of this is to fund collaborative defence research and €5.3bn to fund collaborative capability development projects complementing national contributions.

R&D in civil aeronautics

 In 2022, private and public stakeholders collectively invested an estimated €10.2bn in research and development (R&D) activities within the civil aeronautics sector, marking an increase of 27% compared to 2021. Most of the investment comes from the private sector, driven by both increased spending from the traditional aerospace industry as well as a number of private investors (suppliers and customers). 

R&D will be the main driver to achieve the ambitious sustainability targets the sector is committed to (Destination 2050; see Civil Aeronautics section). European public–private partnerships (PPPs) such as Clean Aviation and SESAR 2020 are playing a critical role in delivering substantial socio-economic impacts.

R&D in defence

Investments in defence R&D and (its subset) R&T are key factors for the success of industry and its capacity to design and develop the next-generation capabilities of Europe’s armed forces. Combined European investment in defence R&D amounted to roughly €13bn in 2022, up 13% from 2021, mainly from national governments as key customers. Research and development spending in the defence sector in Europe remains notably centralised, with France and the UK collectively contributing 40% of the total, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. In terms of R&D spending, EU Member States allocated €3.6bn in 2021 to defence R&D expenditure, which is a new record level of spending; however, it is still below the 2% benchmark agreed in the EDA framework and set as a more binding commitment within PESCO, for which an additional €725 million would be needed. Nevertheless, compared to 2020 it is a significant improvement, as spending increased by 41%.

R&D Investments 2022

23.2bn

+18.5% yoy

R&D Investments 2022 EU/Non-EU

23.2bn

+18.5% yoy

Cyber security and information advantage have become critical areas for national security.

Facts & figures by sector

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The full Facts & Figures 2023 report gives you key insights into the industries that make up ASD.

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