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.
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
Revel Systems, the world’s leading iPad Point of Sale platform, today announced it has expanded operations into Arizona through a new Scottsdale office. The company will create 160 new jobs during the next three years to drive its global sales growth.
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.
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.
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.
AZ Tech Beat • 06.4.2014
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.
The City North Project near Desert Ridge has had its share of ups and downs. Plenty of office space, but this is definitely good news. Gigya will be moving in to the third floor and they'll start with 50 employees, but within a couple years, they will staff it up to 200.
Gigya, a California-based company that provides data and online services to other businesses, has opened Phoenix offices and expects to add up to 200 jobs here, officials said Tuesday.
With Governor Jan Brewer, the City of Phoenix and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), Silicon Valley-based Gigya, the Connected Consumer Management Suite, announced today it has selected Arizona as the site of its corporate expansion after a multi-state competitive process.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), financial partner to the innovation sector and the premium wine industry, is expanding its operations to Arizona, creating hundreds of well-paying, financial sector jobs in the state over the next few years. SVB will open a new IT and operations facility in Tempe in 2012 to support its continued growth.
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.