ADS Group

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ADS Group Limited
ADS Group Limited logo.svg
Formation11 September 2009
TypeTrade association
Legal statusPrivate company
PurposePromoting the aerospace, defence, security and space industries of the United Kingdom
Region served
1,000+ aerospace, defence, security and space companies based in the United Kingdom
Chief Executive
Paul Everitt
Colin Smith
SubsidiariesFarnborough International Limited
AffiliationsAeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD)
WebsiteADS Group

ADS Group Limited, informally known as ADS, is the trade organisation representing the aerospace, defence, security and space industries in the United Kingdom. It has more than 1,000 member companies across its sectors, including some of the UK's largest manufacturers, like Airbus, Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, and Bombardier.

Its subsidiary Farnborough International Limited runs the biennial Farnborough Air Show, one of the world's biggest air shows, and other events.


ADS Group Limited was incorporated on 11 September 2009 as a private, limited by guarantee, no share capital company registered in the United Kingdom with company number 01765250.[1]

It was formed from the merger of the Association of Police and Public Security Suppliers (APPSS), the Defence Manufacturers Association (DMA) and the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC).[2]


ADS activities are focussed on contributing to policy debates of importance to its industries, supporting UK manufacturing and its industries supply chains, encouraging investments in technology and innovation, supporting business development, and enhancing the profile of its sectors. Its current published priority issues are around developing industrial strategy, productivity supply chain improvements, industrial innovation, public procurement, and sectoral priorities for negotiations on the UK's exit from the European Union.[3]

Farnborough International Limited,[4] which runs the Farnborough Airshow, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ADS. ADS also encompasses the British Aviation Group (BAG).

The organization participates in joint initiatives between industry and Government, including the Aerospace Growth Partnership[5] and Defence Growth Partnership.[6] It leads the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP),[7] supported by funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute, aimed at helping UK supply chain companies develop innovative technologies.

ADS is the largest member and contributor to the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), the trade association representing Aerospace, Defence and Space in Europe.

It publishes a quarterly magazine covering its four sectors, ADS Advance, and annual economic outlook reports on the UK aerospace, defence and security sectors.[8]


ADS coordinates UK Pavilions for UK companies exhibiting at international shows such as Paris Air Show and Singapore Air Show. The 2017 Paris Air Show saw 88 UK companies exhibiting in the UK Pavilion, while 150 companies exhibited in the 2017 UK Pavilion at DSEI.

It also runs the annual United Kingdom Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge, a competition for secondary school student teams. The UK national champions compete in the International Rocketry Challenge against winners of the US, French and Japanese competitions. The International Rocketry Challenge final is held at the Farnborough Airshow or Paris Air Show in alternating years.

ADS holds an Annual Dinner for member companies and invited guests, and since 2015 has held an annual reception in Parliament for apprentices from across its member companies.

Special Interest Groups[edit]

ADS has more than 30 Special Interest Groups[9] formed of members with similar professional specialisms. All groups deliver activities that are led by members, and cover areas including aerospace exports, aircraft interiors, maritime, training and simulation, and environmental issues.


The head office is situated on the Albert Embankment (A3036), on the opposite side of the Thames to Millbank Tower, and next to the headquarters of the London Fire Brigade and the United Nation's International Maritime Organization, south of Lambeth Bridge.

It also has offices in


ADS is overseen by the ADS Board, comprising the President, Chief Executive and representatives of member companies. Day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the Executive Team. A number of Boards and Committees oversee specific areas of work, such as membership, business ethics, and civil aviation safety.[10]

The current Chief Executive is Paul Everitt, who succeeded Ian Godden in 2013. The current President is Colin Smith, Chairman of the Aerospace Growth Partnership and former Director of Engineering and Technology at Rolls Royce, who took up the post in January 2018.


Membership is made up of more than 1000 UK registered businesses. Companies include:

Annual Dinner[edit]

Each year ADS hosts an Annual Dinner for member companies from across its four sectors, and invited guests from across industry, politics, the armed forces, government and the media.

The 2018 Annual Dinner, the 9th edition of the event, was held on 15 January in London. It drew more than 900 attendees, with speeches from ADS President Colin P. Smith, and Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders. A charity collection for SSAFA – the Armed Forces Charity, raised more than £13,000 in donations.

The 8th ADS Annual Dinner in 2017 was addressed by ADS & Airbus President Paul Kahn - who spoke about the impact of Brexit on the ADS industries and about the Single Source Regulatory Office (SSRO)[11] - and by former UK foreign secretary William Hague.

Clare Balding was booked to speak at the 2020 annual dinner, to be held at an undisclosed venue in London, but cancelled after being contacted by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which pointed out that ADS members included companies whose weapons were being used in the Yemen civil war.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ADS GROUP LIMITED". OpenCorporates. Retrieved 10 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "ADS Advancing UK Aerospace Defence and Security Industries". ADS Group Limited. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  3. ^ ADS Industry Issues -
  4. ^ Farnborough International -
  5. ^ Aerospace Growth Partnership -
  6. ^ Defence Growth Partnership -
  7. ^ National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme -
  8. ^ ADS Reports and Publications -
  9. ^ List of ADS Special Interest Groups -
  10. ^ ADS Boards and Committees -
  11. ^ Tovey, Alan (1 February 2017). "Warning future success of defence and security sector is up to government" – via
  12. ^ "Clare Balding pulls out of arms trade dinner". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2020.

External links[edit]

News items[edit]