Arizona's cloudless skies and more than 300 days of sunshine – ideal for stargazing, testing and flying – have attracted to the state such aerospace & defense industry giants as Raytheon, Honeywell, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and more.
Lower taxes, less burdensome government regulations, a competitive incentives package, and exceptional aerospace and engineering programs at the university level have led to Arizona’s top-10 rankings in Department of Defense contracts as well as in A&D manufacturing, aerospace exports and aerospace jobs.
Aerospace & Defense Growth
A 2015 study by the International Trade Administration, WorldTradeStatistics.com revealed that Arizona's aerospace & defense total exports rose by more than 21.8% from 2011 to 2014, reaching a $3.47 billion total. The increase was primarily due to a near $400 million increase in aircraft, engines and parts exports.
According to a 2012 Deloitte study, Arizona ranks fourth nationwide in aerospace industry payroll and fourth in aerospace revenue at $14.99 billion. More than 1,200 Arizona-based companies make this state America's third-largest supply chain contributor for aerospace & defense.
Employment & Education
TechAmerica's 2014 Cyberstates Report ranks Arizona fourth nationwide for jobs in the space and defense systems manufacturing industry, employing more than 8,300 people. A 2012 report by Brooking Metropolitan Policy noted that Tucson ranks fourth in the nation for the total percentage of manufacturing workforce dedicated to high-tech work, with more than 51% of it related to aerospace & defense.
Four major research institutions in Arizona have been provided the NASA Space Grant: Arizona State University, Embry Riddle University (home of the nation's highest-ranked aerospace engineering program among non-doctoral program schools, according to U.S. News & World Report), Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.
Arizona Advantages in A&D
- Located west of Phoenix in central Arizona, Luke Air Force Base is home to the 56th Fighter Wing, the largest fighter wing in the world and the only active-duty Air Force F-16 training wing, and also operates as the sole pilot training center for the F-35A Lightning II.
- Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona is the largest unmanned aerial systems (UAS) training facility in the world. The $10,000,000 facility contains 25,000 square feet of space and 10 simulators.
- The Yuma Proving Ground in western Arizona is the second-largest military installation in the world, spread over 838,000 acres, roughly the size of Rhode Island.
- Within the state, there are 15 industry and trade associations for aerospace & defense.
Major A&D Operations
Among the companies taking advantage of Arizona's favorable aerospace & defense climate are:
- Honeywell International
- General Dynamics C4 Systems
- The Boeing Company
- Northrop Grumman
- Orbital Sciences Corporation
- United Technologies
- L3 Communications
- Standard Aero (MRO)
- Bombardier Inc.
- Nammo Talley
- #2 largest employment in guided missile systems manufacturing
- #2 largest employment in space and defense systems manufacturing
- #4 largest employment in aviation and aerospace manufacturing
- #6 largest employment in Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) occupations
- Top 10 largest employment in aviation and aerospace services
From the world's largest military and training bases to top-ranked educational and research facilities, the aerospace and defense industry soars in Arizona.
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With cutting-edge research and world-class programs on the University level, no state flies higher in aerospace and defense than Arizona.
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Arizona's leading advancements in aerospace and defense span sectors from commercial aviation to space and astronomy.
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Arizona AEROSPACE & DEFENSE: In The News
Two prominent trade publications -- Site Selection and Area Development magazines -- have honored Arizona with top recognition for large-scale economic development projects during 2016 in key industries, ranging from aerospace to finance to manufacturing.
The Spring 2017 round of the Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC) has concluded as the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) today announced six awardees in its bi-annual business plan competition. The ACA provides $3 million in grants annually to the most qualified, innovative startups and early-stage companies. Each company receives up to $250,000 in capital to grow their business -- advancing innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in Arizona.
From the TechConnect Blog