The aerospace and defense sector is both a global enterprise and regionally focused.   With extensive technology and manufacturing sector experience that stretches across the Atlantic and closer to home, Womble Bond Dickinson is ideally placed to provide support on even the most complex of cross-border projects.

We serve a wide range of aerospace and defense sector clients including aircraft and ship manufacturers, providers of maintenance and support services, and network/systems integrators.  We have advised OEMs and their tier 1 and 2 suppliers in both civil and military aviation, as well as service providers and maintenance/repair organizations. 

We provide the full spectrum of legal services to the aerospace and defense industry and are particularly sought after for our counsel on regulatory matters (including anti-corruption, export control, and economic and trade sanctions), export sales and bidding, intellectual property and technology, defense procurement, supply chain management, litigation and corporate transactions. Our team includes a deep bench of experience in the UK

Many of our lawyers have previous in-house experience and possess security clearance. As part of our commitment to delivering top-quality client service and legal counsel focused on business goals, our attorneys are deeply involved in the aerospace and defense sector outside of their client engagements.  

What We Do

  • NDAs, support agreements and maintenance contracts
  • Regulatory requirements, operating permits and HSE issues
  • Real estate 
  • Export control and economic and trade sanctions (US/UK)
  • Project finance, banking facilities and tax considerations
  • Anti-bribery and corruption
  • Ownership of technology and IP rights
  • Shared data environments and data licensing
  • Infrastructure and construction
  • Operating systems and cybersecurity
  • Recruitment, redeployment or redundancies
  • Procurement and sales contracts, logistics agreements and international trade
  • Mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring

Examples of Work

  • Serve as outside patent counsel to one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers and defense corporations 
  • Assisted major aircraft manufacturer in developing and implementing global export control and economic/trade sanctions compliance program
  • Provided compliance and contract formation support to aerospace company providing space launch services to the federal government
  • Prepare and negotiate master purchase agreements for development, production, and support phases of OEM aircraft programs; address complex intellectual property provisions; harmonize terms and conditions; support delay and disruptions mitigation and workarounds; and manage and negotiate vendor disputes
  • Developed supplier framework agreements for a defense consultancy business
  • Handled due diligence and restructuring work for a tier 1 defense company
  • Provided support to an overseas agreement for the provision of warship parts

“…. after a few quick discussions with the Womble team, they found the perfect attorney match for us, who then showed up ready to work the following week. [They were] up to speed with our company and specific needs in no time & provided the support critical to complete the creation of the total end-to-end export compliance program we needed for both the U.S. and Canada. The work was sometimes grueling, the subject matter was complex, and the timelines were tight – we absolutely could not have made it happen without the Womble team.” 

Amber Harrison, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America

Womble Bond Dickinson and particularly Stephen, have supported Engage Technical Solutions in the development of a full suite of ‘Supplier Ts & Cs’. This has been a lengthy process that would not have been possible without Stephens expertise in our particularly tricky industry. Stephen has provided excellent support in his specialty area, but has been more than happy to go and find the information or expert that we needed for any other legal issues arising. Womble Bond Dickinson have provided an excellent service and everyone conducts themselves in a professional yet friendly manor. 
I would not hesitate in recommending them. 

Sarah Gagen, Operations Director, Engage Technical Solutions Ltd

Regulatory Matters & Exports

We are able to offer commercially astute guidance on the complex regulations surrounding the aerospace and defense sector on both sides of the Atlantic. This includes anti-bribery and corruption tools, export control regulations, economic and trade sanctions, data security, health and safety and the environment.  

We are also familiar with defense export sales and can guide aerospace and defense sector clients in responding to domestic and international bids, and facilitate the supporting commercial negotiations and contract finalization.  

Intellectual Property & Technology

Whether you are designing a jet engine or a passenger seat, as an aerospace and defense company the innovations you produce are critically important both to your business and the support of our armed forces.  We understand how valuable your intellectual property is, and we’re here to help you protect and monetize it.  Our patent attorneys and agents work regularly with companies in the aerospace sector – from the world’s largest aerospace company to growth companies with little patent experience -- to help them identify and describe patentable inventions, develop patent strategies, prepare and prosecute patents, and build and manage patent portfolios.  

Our experience encompasses the broad disciplines of electrical and computer technology, mechanical engineering and materials science, and chemical engineering.  In aerospace and defense, we are experienced in diverse technologies from platform pre-production to production, service and maintenance, including the following:

  • Computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering (CAE)
  • Systems / software engineering
  • Modeling, simulation and analysis
  • Structures, chemicals, materials and interior
  • Tooling and assembly
  • Platform systems
  • Aerodynamics, mechanics and control
  • Propulsion
  • Guidance and navigation
  • Network systems and cybersecurity

Defense Procurement & Supply Chain Management

Our supply chain management team is focused on facilitating and supporting more reliable and robust supply chains for our aerospace clients.  We have developed, modified and negotiated major purchase agreements for all phases of aircraft development, production, and support, focusing on manufacturer’s key issues such as on-time delivery, product quality, change order management, intellectual property protection and licensing, product support and warranty, liability exposure and mitigation, and disruption mitigation.   We have worked with OEMs and major tier suppliers to harmonize terms and conditions to improve efficiency and predictability, and addressed supply chain disruption techniques to mitigate risk and delays.  We are also able to provide advice on single source contracting and developing alternate suppliers (and protecting intellectual property in both cases), as well as addressing the rules surrounding defense procurement.

Corporate Transactions

We advise aerospace clients on the development and execution of strategic transactions that fuel growth and meet critical financial goals. We provide leadership and guidance on sophisticated merger, acquisition and joint venture transactions. 


Dispute Resolution

We have significant experience managing complex litigation for aerospace and defense industry clients.  We have represented aviation equipment and aircraft manufacturers as well as aviation support companies in state and federal court commercial and tort litigation matters, including product liability matters involving aircraft accidents.

We also have represented a wide variety of aerospace and defense industry companies in complex disputes involving trade secrets, general contracts, regulatory matters, and domestic and international arbitration. 

Browse our Aerospace & Defense Lawyers