Aerospace & defence

James Gordon heads this 30-lawyer team, which represents a pool of expertise in crucial areas including alliancing, partnering and outsourcing transactions, PFI and other government projects, defence procurement, aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, supply chain management and resolution of disputes concerning such matters.

Such is the commitment to the industry it serves, several of the team are International Air Transport Association (IATA) trained and many honed their commercial understanding through secondments to British Airways and what was the Defence Procurement Agency of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), now part of Defence Equipment and Support. Industry jargon is well known to us and we have a comprehensive understanding of an industry adapting to the pressures of competition and consolidation, in addition to potential spending cuts.

Headline experience includes working with 'Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement' (OCCAR) on the re-negotiation of a ground-breaking €20 billion contract for the development and supply of up to 170 A400M military transport aircraft from Airbus Military S.L. A landmark, high-profile project for European defence procurement agency OCCAR, it involved working with seven European nations and the use of an innovative standstill structure. This innovation is why the team's work was highly commended in the 2011 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers report.

The sector-focused experts also worked with the MoD in-house team on one of its largest ever procurement exercises, the £3 billion CVF aircraft carrier project. Within this project the MoD piloted a ground-breaking alliance approach which sees all parties agree to apportion risk and reward to ensure best value for government and profit for industry. The Aircraft Carrier Alliance included the MoD, BAE Systems, VT Group, Babcock and Thales UK.

In the civil market, we advised British Airways on its £1.5 billion engine maintenance contract with General Electric (GE), one of the largest engineering outsourcing contracts awarded in the airline's history. The ten-year agreement will see GE responsible for the maintenance, overhaul and repair for the airline's RB211-524 and CFM56 engines.

More recently, British Airways launched a competition for new long-haul aircraft, issuing tender documents to aircraft and engine manufacturers. We advised on the multi-billion pound contracts for procuring the aircraft engines and other components.

Clients include British Airways, Cranfield Aerospace, Meggitt, Goodrich, MoD, QinetiQ and GKN.

The team also holds regular aerospace and defence forums to facilitate and encourage debate on hot topics of shared interest for executives in the industry and separate regular network events for in-house lawyers in the industry.

For more information on aerospace and defence, please contact James Gordon (