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 education and medical technology industries in Arizona were strongly represented during this year’s Venture Madness competition. The event culminated with Gilbert, Ariz.-based CampusLogic emerging victorious as the Venture Madness Champion in the final round.
The ACA today launched its new Start Up section at AZCommerce.com as part of its ongoing efforts to align resources, connect partners and strengthen Arizona’s vibrant innovation ecosystem supporting the state’s entrepreneurs.
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.