The UK recorded defence export sales worth £5.4 billion ($8.78 billion) in 2011, with additional products and services for the security sector having brought in a further £2.6 billion.
Announcing the figures on 27 April, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) said the combined £8 billion total ranked the nation second behind the USA in the international sale of defence and security equipment. This represented a 15% share of the global market, the government body says, with India, the USA and Middle Eastern nations - primarily Saudi Arabia - having been the most important customers.
Although the value of defence sales fell slightly from the £5.8 billion total secured in the previous 12 months, minister for trade and investment Lord Green says the 2011 total was "all the more encouraging in the absence of a major defence platform export from the UK last year".
Averaged over the past decade, British companies have accounted for 20% of all defence equipment exports, UKTI says. Aviation products and services accounted for 80% of the UK's total sales during the same period, with key systems now being promoted including the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft and BAE Systems Hawk jet trainer.