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
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.