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 2013 study by the International Trade Administration, WorldTradeStatistics.com revealed that Arizona's aerospace & defense total exports rose by more than 18% from 2011 to 2012, reaching a $2.87 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 2013 Cyberstates Report ranks Arizona fourth nationwide for jobs in the space and defense systems manufacturing industry, employing more than 8,700 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.
- 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:
- General Dynamics C4 Systems
- The Boeing Company
- Northrop Grumman
- Orbital Sciences
- United Technologies – includes Goodrich, Hamilton Sundstrand
- L3 Communications
- Standard Aero (MRO)
- Nammo Talley
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
Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the U.S., today announced plans to build a 650,000-square-foot Southwest Distribution Center in Casa Grande, Ariz., with plans to hire 250 employees to support the company’s western expansion.
San Francisco-based Zenefits, the free, cloud-based human resources technology company that automates and eliminates time-consuming paperwork for small and medium-sized businesses, announced plans to create more than 1,300 new full-time jobs with the launch of its new office in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Orion Health, a leading population health management company, today announced the opening of its new development center in Scottsdale. The Orion Health ‘Center of Excellence’ will serve as the company’s North American research and solution center, supporting big data analytics technology development, focused on providing decision support to clinicians and patients, and solution support for clients’ population health initiatives.
The State of Arizona today announced the strategic expansion of its presence and investment in Mexico with the launch of the Arizona State Trade and Investment Office. The grand opening of the Arizona office located in Mexico City was the culminating event of an Arizona-led trade mission conducted this week to strengthen the state’s relationship with its number No. 1 trading partner.
GoDaddy, the world’s largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses, officially opened the GoDaddy Global Technology Center in Tempe. The new facility supports more than 1,100 colleagues, including engineers, developers and corporate staff, along with small business consultants at the 150,000-square-foot facility located in the ASU Research Park.
Governor Jan Brewer today announced her proclamation to establish October as Arizona Manufacturers Month. In its second year, this annual Arizona initiative highlights the state’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem, innovative companies and the industry’s role in propelling Arizona’s economy into its next era of growth. ManufacturingRevolution.com is a hub of information about Arizona manufacturing and provides information about events scheduled throughout the month.
Accolade, a technology-enabled consumer engagement company dedicated to improving the healthcare experience while also lowering costs, has expanded its operations with the opening of a new office in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company expects the office to employ more than 300 by the end of 2016.
AZCentral.com • 08.22.2014
The Detroit-based company on Friday formally announced the opening of its fourth national IT center, which will employ 1,000 workers in the southeast Valley (Greater Phoenix-area) as the U.S. economy continues a shift toward knowledge-based jobs in science and engineering.
AZCentral.com • 08.15.2014
The ACA reports 17,154 quality new jobs created in fiscal 14. Impressive job totals are just part of the story. Chief Executive Magazine in May ranked Arizona as a Top-10 place to do business in the nation.
AZCentral.com • 08.11.2014
Entrepreneurship and innovation in Arizona have led to successful businesses that are meeting everyday needs of residents and businesses.
California-based Silicon Valley Bank today announced its continued expansion in Arizona, with the addition of 250 jobs at its Tempe corporate operations over the next three years. Additionally, the company has committed to lend or invest $100 million to tech and life science companies based in Arizona over the next five years.
AZCentral.com • 07.30.2014
The California bank expands in Arizona and plans to boost innovation in the state by making $100 million available to high-growth companies.
AZCentral.com • 07.23.2014
The National Federation of Independent Business has identified the top five U.S. cities for opening and operating a small business. Phoenix occupies the fifth spot on the list.
USA Today • 06.23.2014
The "Silicon Desert," as locals call it, is thriving, with start-ups taking advantage of the lower cost of living, tight-knit community and talent from one of the nation's largest schools — Arizona State University — to help sprout new tech ideas.
Weebly, a global service that lets everyone create a high-quality website, has signed a 25,000-square-foot office lease in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the company’s North American customer operations headquarters. Weebly plans to bring more than 250 new positions to the city over the next three years.
AZCentral.com • 06.3.2014
AZCentral.com • 05.28.2014
The Phoenix metro area ranks ninth on a new Forbes list of American cities with the fastest-growing information sectors. Close to 2 percent of the jobs in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale area are information jobs, according to the list.
From the ACA Blog
Mar 13, 2014
T.J. Jennings, Vice President, Capital Strategies, Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona actively engages its entrepreneurs with strategic programs to assist in their expansion. The Arizona Innovation Accelerator Fund (AIAF) program is one example of this strategic support. The AIAF program provides debt financing to expanding Arizona businesses that need resources to capitalize on market opportunities.
Feb 6, 2014
Pat Sullivan, Co-Founder & CEO • Contatta
I love Entrepreneurs. I love Arizona. And I absolutely love Arizona entrepreneurs. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is one of the reasons Arizona is ranked first in the nation for entrepreneurial activity. The ACA has a three-pronged approach of “recruit, grow, create,” and though Contatta supports everything the ACA is doing, it’s in their efforts to “grow” and “create” that Contatta and the ACA are most closely aligned.