R&D in Aerospace

Constant innovation is essential for the UK aerospace industry to stay ahead of global competition. Research and development (R&D) tax credits are designed to support and encourage this innovation, helping firms invest in new discoveries and approaches.


The sector employs around 95,000 people and is worth approximately £31 billion, with some of the most advanced aviation and space flight technology arising from R&D to overcome uncertainty and technical challenges.


The innovative nature of the aerospace industry means many projects are potentially eligible for R&D tax credits and the number of R&D claims is increasing year on year in the UK. However, many aerospace businesses may be unaware they qualify for the incentive, particularly if work is subcontracted.


Examples of eligible activities


  • Developing new or improved technologies
  • Developing new manufacturing processes
  • Creating new aircraft or spacecraft designs
  • Reformulating existing materials or chemicals
  • Developing new software
  • Updating existing software for new purposes
  • Designing, creating and testing prototypes