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
HealthPlanOne, one of the nation’s leading Medicare and under-65 health insurance sales and customer acquisition companies, has announced plans to open a new location in Phoenix. With plans to hire 175 people this year, the new office will support the company’s brokerage business and its growing number of insurance carrier clients.
The Arizona Commerce Authority has selected 18 recipients for AZ Fast Grant, a highly competitive grant program that provides qualified Arizona-based, early stage technology companies with intensive training and technical assistance to commercialize their innovations, grow their businesses and create quality jobs.
AZ Tech Beat • 06.25.2014
Twice a year the Arizona Commerce Authority awards grant funding capital to a group of startups to help them grow their business and fuel innovation.
Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the ACA said, “This round of the Arizona Innovation Challenge demonstrates why Arizona continues to be recognized as a hub of innovation and technology.”
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.
Arizona General Hospital announced it will open a boutique, full-service health care facility in early 2015 in Laveen, Ariz. The 39,000-square-foot hospital will provide Phoenix-area residents 24/7 access to emergency medical care. Arizona General Hospital also plans to bring 300 new jobs and invest $75 million over the next three years.
AZCentral.com • 06.3.2014
Prosper Marketplace, America’s fastest growing peer-to-peer lending company, today announced the opening of a new office in Phoenix – the first office outside the company’s San Francisco headquarters.
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.
AZCentral.com • 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.
AZCentral.com • 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.
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."
The Next Silicon Valley • 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.
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.