Nationalized enterprise, founded in April 1977, uniting British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics and Scottish Aviation. Companies retained their identities initially, but subsequently became divisions of British Aerospace. Many aircraft of former constituent companies continued as BAe products, initially under old company names, although former British Aerospace Corporate Jets division sold to Raytheon of the U.S.A. in August 1993 (becoming Raytheon Corporate Jets), thereby losing the Hawker bizjets.

BAe recently reorganized into new business units, namely Defence, Commercial Aerospace and British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Ltd. (BARAL), which is the structure in 1999, with additional organizations for international marketing and sales, spares and logistics, Jetstream Aircraft Ltd. (offers engineering management for Jetstream customers), securities, consultancy services, flight training, Farnborough Business Aviation, Sowerby Research Centre, and British Aerospace Holdings Inc. Defence business unit comprises British Aerospace Australia Holdings (as important Australian defense and aerospace company), British Aerospace Defence Systems (Siemens Plessey Defence Systems acquired as core of company), Matra BAe Dynamics (as
Hawker Siddeley HS-1127 Harrier
HS-1127 "Harrier"
a European joint venture developing and producing missiles), Military Aircraft and Aerostructures (to develop and manufacture military aircraft and construct components/subassemblies for civil aircraft), British Aerospace North Sea Range (operating a target range for air combat training), Royal Ordnance (to produce munitions and weapons), BAeSEMA (for naval work), British Aerospace (Systems & Equipment) for instrumentation/avionics systems, and Systems & Services. Commercial Aerospace division encompasses British Aerospace Airbus (working on Airbus airliner programs), and British Aerospace Asset Management. British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Ltd. (BARAL) encompasses Avro International Aerospace (producing RJ airliners), plus Jetstream Aircraft, and Spares & Logistics Center.

Current military aircraft activities, some as continuations of programs begun by pre-BAe companies, include the Hawk basic/advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft, with air defense capabilities (first flown August 1974 and sales continuing in Hawk 50/60/100 two-seat and Hawk 200 series single-seat versions); development/upgrading/production of STOVL Sea Harrier F/A Mk 2 for Royal Navy; joint development and production with Boeing in the U.S.A. (formerly McDonnell Douglas) of land-based STOVL Harrier II (first flown November 1981) and Harrier II Plus (first flown September 1992) plus T-45
Hawker Siddeley HS-1182 Hawk
HS-1182 "Hawk"
Goshawk carrier-capable jet trainer for U.S. Navy (Hawk variant); share of the Eurofighter program (see EuroFighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH.); share of the Tornado program (see Panavia Aircraft GmbH.); share of the Jaguar program (see SEPECAT); development and rework of existing Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft into Nimrod 2000 form for RAF service as MRA Mk 4s from the year 2003 (first flight 1999; program involves more than 200 British companies and some foreign suppliers); and work on the Future Offensive Aircraft (first flight of a technology demonstrator possible in 2005) as a stealth Tornado replacement.

Current civil aircraft activities include continued marketing and production of the Avro RJ family of 70- to 128- seat short-range regional airliners and freighters (developed from the previous BAe 146; RJ85 first flew March 1992), and possible future development of the RJX twin-turbofan follow-on to the RJs. Manufacture of the Jetstream 31 (first flown March 1982 in production form) and Super 31 (April 1988), Jetstream 41 (September 1991), ATP (August 1986, as development of former HS/BAe 748) and its derivative Jetstream 61 (1994, but none sold), ended in 1998.

A merger with GEC-Marconi Avionics Ltd. was being finalized in 1999.

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