Serco (United Kingdom) owns a one-third share in the joint venture AWE-ML, which runs the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment. It is responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the nuclear warheads for the UK arsenal.

Company profile

Serco Group, based in the UK, operates as a service company to governments and commercial customers worldwide. Its main business areas in public service are health, education, transport, science and defence.[a]

In the financial year ending 31 December 2015, Serco generated revenues of £ 3.2 billion (€ 4.3 billion), resulting in an operating loss of £ 3.7 million (€ 5.0 million) and a net loss of £ 152.6 million (€ 207.0 million).[b]

Contact Information

Twitter: @SercoGroup

Serco Group plc
Serco House
16 Bartley Wood Business Park
Bartley Way
RG27 9UY
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1256 745900

Nuclear weapons

Serco held until recently a 33.3% share in the joint venture AWE-ML, the company that manages the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).[i] Following a previously equal distribution with partners Lockheed Martin and Jacobs Engineering, it was agreed during a restructuring in March 2016 that Lockheed Martin would increase its share to 51%, with Serco and Jacobs Engineering then holding 24.5% each.[ii] The AWE is responsible for the maintenance of the warheads for the country’s Trident nuclear arsenal. Trident is a submarine-launched, intercontinental ballistic missile system carried by the fleet of Vanguard-class submarines. AWE-ML is responsible for managing and operating the AWE sites at Aldermaston, Burghfield, and Blacknest, and is a partner in the consortium operating the nuclear arms depot in Coulport, Scotland. [iii]

AWE’s involvement with Trident missiles covers the entire life cycle, from initial concept to assessment, design, component manufacture and assembly, in-service support and decommissioning and disposal.[iv] AWE-ML has a 25 year-long non-revocable contract to run the AWE that expires in March 2025. [v] In the 15 years from 2000 to 2015, the contract had a value of an estimated £ 9 billion. The contract came under discussion in 2015 due to poor performance of the operator.[vi] In March 2016, a modified contract between the Ministry of Defence and AWE-ML was agreed, described as including performance incentives as well as penalties for not meeting targets, and including the new consortium structure.[vii]

According to recent reports, work is already under way at the AWE facilities in Aldermaston and Burghfield to upgrade the existing Trident arsenal. The “Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme” also entails the development of an entirely new warhead, the Mark 4A or Mk4A.[viii] The programme reportedly commenced without formally notifying the UK parliament.[ix]



The following financial institutions have made approximately US$ 4,420 million available to this producer since January 2013.

  • Aberdeen Asset Management
  • ANZ
  • Bank of America
  • Barclays
  • BlackRock
  • Commerzbank
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Crédit Agricole
  • DBS
  • Foundation Asset Management
  • Franklin Resources
  • Helaba
  • HSBC

  • Intesa Sanpaolo
  • Intrinsic Value Investors
  • Invesco
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • KBC Group
  • Lancaster Investment Management
  • Lazard
  • Legal & General
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Majedie Asset Management
  • Marathon Asset Management
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
  • MSD Partners
  • National Bank of Abu Dhabi

  • New York State Common Retirement Fund
  • Orbis Group
  • River and Mercantile Group
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • State Street
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Financial
  • Sun Life Financial
  • T. Rowe Price
  • Trinity Street Asset Management
  • UBS
  • Vanguard
  • Zürcher Kantonalbank

This page was last updated 29 November 2016.


[a]       Serco, “About Us”, Website Serco (, viewed June 2016.

[b]      Serco, “Annual Report 2015”, Serco, February 2016.

[i]       Serco, “Annual Report 2015”, Serco, February 2016.

[ii]      AWE-ML, “Our company”, Website AWE-ML (, viewed June 2016;
Edwards, R., “Anger as US arms dealer takes over running of Scottish nuclear bomb base”, Scotland Herald (, 28 May 2011;
Serco, “AWE review concluded successfully and updated contract agreed”, Press Release Serco, 31 March 2016 (

[iii]      AWE, “Our company”, Website AWE (, viewed June 2016;
AWE, “Overview”, AWE, July 2014 (

[iv]     AWE, “Overview”, AWE, July 2014 (

[v]      The Guardian, “Britain’s nuclear spending soars amid defence cuts”, Website The Guardian, 2 October 2011 (;
AWE, “Annual review 2013”, AWE, May 2014.

[vi]     Collingridge, J., “Nuclear contract may be scrapped”, Website The Sunday Times, 15 March 2015 (

[vii]     UK Ministry of Defence, “MOD drives efficiencies in improved contract for nuclear sites”, Website UK Ministry of Defence, 31 March 2016 (;
Serco, “AWE review concluded successfully and updated contract agreed”, Press Release Serco, 31 March 2016 (

[viii]    Nuclear Information Service, “AWE: Britain’s Nuclear Weapons Factory Past, Present, and Possibilities for the Future”, Nuclear Information Service, June 2016 (;
Ministry of Defence, “Appointment as Senior Responsible Owner for the Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme”, Letter by the Ministry of Defence to Dr Paul Hollinshead, DST Director, 2 July 2014 (

[ix]     Nuclear Information Service, “AWE: Britain’s Nuclear Weapons Factory Past, Present, and Possibilities for the Future”, Nuclear Information Service, June 2016 (;
Norton-Taylor, R., “Trident is being upgraded in secret, report claims”, Website The Guardian, 7 June 2016 (


In some nuclear-armed states – in particular the United States, the United Kingdom and France – private companies are hired by governments to carry out work on maintaining and modernising nuclear arsenals. This report looks at companies that are providing the necessary components to develop, test, maintain and modernise nuclear weapons.The contracts these companies have with nuclear armed countries are for materials and services to keep nuclear weapons in their arsenals. The companies described are substantially involved in the nuclear weapons programmes of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, or India and are themselves based in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In other nuclear-armed countries –Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea – the maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces is carried out primarily or exclusively by government agencies.


The nuclear weapon producers identified were selected on the basis of a predetermined set of criteria.
– Information on investments is publicly available.
– The company is directly involved in the development, testing, production, maintenance or trade of nuclear weapons related technology, parts, products or services.
– The company’s involvement is related to warheads, or to delivery systems such as missiles, that are specifically developed for nuclear tasks. This includes technology that is designed for ‘dual use’ (military and civilian) but excludes technology that is not designed for, but can be used in nuclear warfare. It does not include delivery platforms such as bombers and submarines.

State owned or controlled nuclear industries are outside the scope of this research, as are companies not publicly listed. Our research uncovered a number of Universities involved in nuclear weapons programmes, but these are also outside the scope of the report.

The list of nuclear weapon producers investigated was compiled through a wide variety of sources, including financial institution exclusion lists, civil society reports, media reports, etc. Additional details on the contracts and components can be found in the Annex. We welcome information at any time about possible nuclear weapons producing companies to investigate.