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.

Aerospace And Defense

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, 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:

  • Raytheon 
  • Honeywell 
  • General Dynamics C4 Systems 
  • The Boeing Company 
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Orbital Sciences
  • United Technologies – includes Goodrich, Hamilton Sundstrand
  • L3 Communications
  • Standard Aero (MRO)
  • Bombardier
  • 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.

Read More >


With cutting-edge research and world-class programs on the University level, no state flies higher in aerospace and defense than Arizona.

Read More >


Arizona's leading advancements in aerospace and defense span sectors from commercial aviation to space and astronomy.

Read More >

Arizona AEROSPACE & DEFENSE: In The News

Arizona Commerce Authority Announces Second Round Recipients of its Annual Rural Economic Development Grant

• 04.22.2014

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) today announced that Mohave County, City of Nogales, City of Globe and Yuma County are recipients of the second round of its annual Rural Economic Development Grant (REDG).

NFL Pro Bowl coming to Arizona • 04.9.2014

The Pro Bowl game will be played Jan. 25, 2015, a week before Arizona hosts the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Bioscience a $36 billion boon industry in Arizona • 04.8.2014

Arizona's bioscience industry generates $36 billion in annual revenue, according to a study released Tuesday in Phoenix. The report from the Flinn Foundation identified 106,846 jobs in the bioscience sector.

SubZero buys land to expand in Goodyear • 04.1.2014

Sub-Zero Inc. has purchased land in Goodyear to expand its already large facility in the city. The Wisconsin-based company paid $2 million for an 11.5-acre parcel next to its 438,501-square-foot manufacturing and distribution operation in the PV303 business park at Interstate 10 and the Loop 303. Sub-Zero currently has as many as 400 employees at its Goodyear site.

American Airlines to add jobs in Phoenix • 03.19.2014

The new American Airlines, formed by last year's merger of Tempe-based US Airways and American, announced that it will be adding jobs in the Phoenix area, which reinforces its commitment to maintain a significant corporate and operational presence in Arizona.

Arizona named 3rd largest for job growth

AZ Tech Beat • 03.19.2014

The Arizona economy is off to a good start this year. According to numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Monday, Arizona had the third largest job growth so far this year.

ACA ready for next Innovation Challenge

Phoenix Business Journal • 03.14.2014

The Arizona Commerce Authority’s Spring 2014 Arizona Innovation Challenge, a business plan competition that awards the most money in the country for a technology commercialization challenge, is accepting applications until 3 p.m. March 28.

Pinnacle Transplant Technologies Wins Venture Madness Competition

Phoenix Business Journal • 03.10.2014

Phoenix’s Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, which processes muscular skeletal tissue from human cadavers and then packages, sterilizes and distributes the tissue to physicians, beat out 63 other companies to win the Venture Madness championship.

Phoenix tissue bank wins Venture Madness competition • 03.7.2014

Phoenix-based Pinnacle Transplant Technologies was the winner in the Venture Madness business-pitch finals over Contatta in a dual of biotech vs. IT software. The human-tissue bank for medical transplants was established in 2010, had $7.4 million in revenue last year and has grown to 45 employees. The Venture Madeness competition, sponsored by Invest Southwest and the Arizona Commerce Authority, started with 64 developing companies.

Apple CEO Says AZ Project Will Create Ecosystem with Thousands of Jobs

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."

Scottsdale startup Delivery-IT simplifies retail delivery

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.

Arizona Commerce Authority Opens 2014 Arizona Innovation Challenge

• 03.3.2014

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).

Invest Southwest Announces Venture Madness Final 16 and Keynote Speaker at Inaugural Event

• 02.25.2014

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.


Google Fiber may come to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe • 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.

Google Fiber a possibility for Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe

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.

32 Startups Advance to Round 2 in Venture Madness

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 Expanding with a New Facility in Phoenix

• 02.12.2014

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.

Venture Madness: technology changing economic development

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 expanding with new Scottsdale home

• 01.17.2014

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.

Zivelo moving HQ from Indiana to Scottsdale, will hire 70

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 Expands, Brings Jobs To Arizona

• 12.4.2013

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

Fostering business expansion in Arizona

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.

Innovation in the "Silicon Desert"

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.