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
The Mac Observer • 03.5.2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook told shareholders that the project the company has going on in Arizona will create thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs...and would lead to an ecosystem that creates "tens of thousands of jobs."
AZ Tech Beat • 03.4.2014
Scottsdale-based Delivery-IT's software platform helps retailers and customers with ordering, scheduling and same-day delivery of their favorite goods. In December 2013, the Arizona Commerce Authority selected Delivery-IT as a winner of its Arizona Innovation Challenge.
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) today announced the opening of its Spring 2014 Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC), a business plan competition that awards the most money in the country for a technology commercialization challenge. The ACA will be accepting applications now through March 28, 2014. Applications must be submitted by 3:00 p.m. MST (Arizona time).
Venture Madness, presented by Invest Southwest in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, introduces the final 16 competing startups in this unique, head-to-head business pitch competition that culminates March 5-7 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.
AZCentral.com • 02.19.2014
Google announced that Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe are among a handful of metro areas that the Silicon Valley-based company is considering for its high-speed Google Fiber network.
Phoenix Business Journal • 02.19.2014
Google announced today it will evaluate the cities of Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe to be part of a national high-speed Internet fiber network it is launching in nine U.S. markets.
AZ Tech Beat • 02.15.2014
Venture Madness, presented by Invest Southwest, in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority announced 32 startups advancing to round two in the head-to-head business pitch competition.
Leclerc Foods USA, a North American leader in the cookies, snack bars and crackers industry, is pleased to announce the expansion of its food manufacturing operations in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Next Silicon Valley Experience • 02.4.2014
At the IEDC annual conference in Philadelphia, USA, last October, I participated in a panel entitled, “Transforming Economies: Economic Development 21.0”. The premise of the debate was based on how technology is transforming economic development in the 21st century, with global competition being oblivious to boundaries.
Stonegate Mortgage Corporation, a leading, publicly traded mortgage company focused on originating, financing and servicing U.S. residential mortgage loans, has commenced operations in its newest expansion location; Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Phoenix Business Journal • 12.5.2013
Zivelo, a kiosk and digital sign manufacturing company, is moving its corporate headquarters to Scottsdale. The 5-year-old Marion, Ind.-based company will add at least 70 jobs to the Phoenix market when it moves into a 13,000-square-foot space at Fashion Square Mall in January.
ZIVELO, a kiosk and digital signage manufacturing company based in Marion, Ind., is expanding its company profile by moving its corporate headquarters to Scottsdale, Ariz. The five-year-old company, recognized as one of the fastest growing tech companies in the U.S. by both Inc. and Forbes, plans to add at least . . .
From the ACA Blog
Feb 6, 2014
Pat Sullivan, Co-Founder & CEO Contatta • 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.
Jan 29, 2014
Jeremy Babendure, Executive Director, Arizona SciTech Festival
What do robots, baseball and wine have to do with economic development? More than you think. Learn about this year's eight-week Arizona SciTech Festival running now through March 31.