What do the engines on the new Ariane VI launch system, Airbus flight helmets and the French Navy’s next generation of nuclear attack submarines all have in common? They are all made in Normandy! The aeronautics, space, defence and security industry is firmly established in our region with major manufacturing sites and exciting SMEs. Fuelled by new perspectives for the future – EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence cooperation, new generation of sustainable aircraft – the sector is taking off with a higher turnover than before the pandemic. 

A firmly established industry

From the space conquest to deterrence force at sea, Normandy is in on the action! The aeronautics, space, defence (land, sea and air) and security industry is built on solid foundations here. On top of leading laboratories and training courses, the biggest names in the industry have docked their factories in the region. Just take the Safran group (the world’s second largest aircraft equipment manufacturer), ArianeGroup (European leaders in space launchers) and Collins Aerospace (one of the world’s largest suppliers of aerospace and defence products). 

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Normandie AeroEspace

A constellation of cutting-edge SMEs orbit around them including Factem in Bayeux (market leader in audio accessories for the aeronautics and navy sector) and Starnav near Caen (on the brink of becoming a world leader in star trackers and weapon adjustment). Normandy is home to a total of 218 factories or service industries that devote some or all of their work to aeronautics, space, defence and security.

Major assets

  • 218 sites and companies

    *INSEE 2020 figures

  • 21,500 employees

    *NAE figures

  • 4.1 billion euros in turnover

    *NAE figures

  • 1 strategic military base

    Airbase 105

Industry pillars in Normandy

Normandie AeroEspace, a network fuelling the industry

Normandie AeroEspace (NAE) has brought businesses together and structured the aeronautics, space, defence and security industry in Normandy since 1998. NAE now has 167 members (major groups, SMEs, start-ups, research labs, training centres) with 21,500 employees throughout the region. NAE is supported by the Normandy region and focuses on five areas: business support, employment and training, communication, innovation and R&D (promoting Norman innovations through the NAE network’s Pépites RTI campaign). NAE has joined forces with its partners to found the Centre Français de Fiabilité. The “French Reliability Centre” enables industry leaders throughout France to test the reliability of their systems and electronic components.

Airbase 105

Airbase 105 in Evreux is one of the biggest military bases in France and a strategic site for the French Air and Space Force. 2300 soldiers and civilians work here. What does it stand out for? Tactical transport and logistics, surveillance and reconnaissance, managing telecommunication networks essential to operations etc. The base is also home to the biggest Franco-German tactical air squadron (10 planes, 260 pilots), key to building Europe’s defence. Airbase 105 will see new investment of up to 158 million € as part of the 2024-2030 military planning law.


Normandy has a legacy for research into materials that directly contributes to innovation in the industry. The CNRT Matériaux research centre relies on the scientific and technical skills of 5 labs (CIMAP, CRISMAT, LCMT, LCS, LOMC) to explore research projects and address industry issues. The aeronautics, space, defence and security industry is also supported by Normandy’s research bodies specialising in acoustics, IT, instrumentation, embedded electronic systems etc.

Major manufacturing groups

The biggest manufacturing groups in aeronautics, space, defence and security have factories based in Normandy (17 of them are NAE members). The Naval Group is the European leader in naval defence design and has 2300 employees involved in designing and building submarines in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. The ArianeGroup in Vernon accounts for 60% of the entire space workforce in Normandy. A thousand employees work on the specialist site that has three cryogenic engine test benches and component test benches. The Safran group has opened several of its branches in the region: Safran Spacecraft in Vernon, Propulsion Safran Aerosystems in Elbeuf, Safran Nacelles in Le Havre, Safran Data System in Caen etc.

SMEs and sub-contractors

There are also countless SMEs in the region that work directly or indirectly for major aeronautics, space, defence and security manufacturers. They include: Efinor in Manche, Thermocoax in Orne, ACMH in Calvados, Solcera in Eure and Visionic in Seine-Maritime. Some of them are part of the Normandy manufacturing sub-contractor cluster SOTRABAN (metalworking, plastics, electronics, surface coatings etc.).

Events promoting Normandy

  • Le Bourget, the place to be
    The Paris Air Show at Paris-Le Bourget Airport is where anyone who’s anyone in the industry gets together! NAE brings a whole host of Normandy companies to its stand every year (46 at the 2023 trade fair) to showcase their expertise and innovations appreciated by the biggest manufacturers and companies in the industry: Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, ArianeGroup, Safran, etc.
  • Vernon, Communauté des Villes Ariane President
    The Communauté des Villes Ariane (CVA) is an association uniting the different towns and industries in Europe involved in European space travel. Vernon, home to a major ArianeGroup site, presided over the CVA for the first time in 2023 with an extensive line-up of aerospace-themed events for locals. 

An industry working towards decarbonisation

Decarbonising aviation is an objective for the whole country: the International Civil Aviation Organisation has set the goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050. The plan of action includes using sustainable fuel (SAF made from renewable resources such as biomass) and building hydrogen-powered planes. The Normandy industry is ready to tackle the industrial and environmental challenge! 

NAE has made a priority of removing any technological obstacles hampering the development of cleaner propulsion systems (biofuel, hydrogen, electric) by focusing its attention on new materials, additive manufacturing, heat management, the reliability of systems and components feeding the engines, experimenting and modelling.

Avion dans le ciel

The Normandy industry is determined to take part in this industrial and environmental challenge!

In the same vein, NAE has launched its DEMOTECH project: tech demos to illustrate Normandy companies and labs’ focus on reducing their carbon footprint. A showcase of Normandy companies and labs’ expertise in the area which should speed up the launch of their innovations throughout the industry. 


Do you need assistance?

The economic development agency of the region, AD Normandie, offers personalised support for setting up your business in Normandy. A team of experts assists you with the administrative procedures for the development of your project as well as investments.


Discover the support for the aeronautics industry by AD Normandie

Let’s visit Seine-Maritime and Eure to learn about jobs in the industry

Employment in the aeronautics, space, defence and security industry in Normandy is mainly in Seine-Maritime and Eure where the biggest companies are based: Safran Nacelles in Le Havre, Safran Aerosystem and Thales in Rouen, Remiva in Yvetot, ArianeGroup and GOODrich Actuation Systems, the world leader in actuation for planes and helicopters (part of Collins Aerospace) in Vernon…

Opportunities in every area

Studio 911
Salarié dans l'industrie en Normandie

Businesses in the industry have career opportunities in every area: R&D (engineer, mechanical designer), production (fitter, assembly-line worker, boilermaker, turner, machine operator), maintenance, repair and support (head of procurement, logistics technician, quality control technician etc.). There are a thousand vacancies a year in the industry in Normandy.

Training to suit company requirements

Normandy provides aeronautics, space, defence and security courses from vocational diplomas to Master’s degrees. Some have even been specially designed to meet the needs of businesses and manufacturers in the region. They include the Aeronautics sandwich course specialising in systems at Lycée Marcel Sembat (Rouen), the Maintenance and Electronic Technology, Instrumentation, Aeronautics, Space and Transport degree at Université de Rouen Normandie or the embedded systems engineering degree (mechatronics and nomad software) at ESIX Normandie etc. 

Academic establishments

Destination métiers

Have a go at working in aircraft maintenance!

The Agence de l’Orientation et des Métiers career service has designed a range of free virtual games to try out some of the positions available in Normandy.

This special aeronautics game sees you assess the condition of an aircraft before conducting any essential maintenance work.


Have a go >


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