Facts & Figures

The Strategic Importance of our Industry

The aerospace and defence sectors are one of the European Union (EU)’s key high-tech sectors on the global market. The significant effect that this has on the European economy through profits and job creation, both directly and indirectly, underpins the importance of this industry.

ASD publishes each year statistics on the European aeronautics, space, defence and security industry. Utilised by many organisations and institutions, the ASD Facts & Figures brochure is recognised as the reference of the industry.


Overall, the aerospace and defence industry performs well and is key to the European economy. In 2015, our industries experienced improved performances such as growth in revenues, export and market competitiveness. They achieved a turnover of €222 billion showing an increase of 11% in comparison with 2014 mainly due to growth in the aeronautics sector.

Chart industry turnover

Despite this positive outlook, we must sustain our strong technological drive, for which consistency in public funding in the form of grants is key. With growing competition that includes non-European newcomers, a strong political will from European authorities must be the cornerstone of European research.


Aerospace and defence manufacturers develop aircraft and spacecraft for the commercial sector, and military aircraft, spacecraft and other products for Europe and other militaries. The industry provides high quality employment opportunities. In 2015, ASD industries employed almost 848,000 people in Europe.

Employment figures

Research & Development (R&D)

A continued stability of investments in R&D is noted in 2015, assumed in the range of €20 billion, with an equally split between civil and military activities allowing a valuable return which need to be preserved in the future facing increased competition from third government investments and competitors.

RD expenditure

For more detailed figures linked to our industry you can download our 2015 Facts & Figures brochure.