Aerospace & Defense

person in front of airplane


Activity in Arizona’s aerospace and defense sector is broad and deep. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, in 2014, Arizona was awarded nearly $10 billion in federal contracts - ranking #8 among all states for defense contracts awarded. These numbers reflect Arizona’s long-standing history with some of the industry’s most successful corporations, whose continued success fuels future growth:


Boeing, which employs approximately 4,300 Arizonans, helps support a variety of the company’s programs and partners with more than 570 suppliers and vendors across the state. The Boeing/Arizona partnership already delivers roughly $1.1 billion of economic activity in the state every year. Boeing produces the U.S. Army’s AH-64D Apache Block III helicopter, the most advanced multi-role combat helicopter in the world (which recently received a new order for 35 helicopters with a buy price of $591 million dollars).

Raytheon Missile Systems

Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) is the world leader in the design, development and production of weapon systems for the U.S. military and the allied forces of more than 50 countries. Southern Arizona’s largest employer, with 9,600 employees at its Tucson headquarters, RMS also accounts for more than one-third of Tucson’s 22,500 manufacturing jobs. RMS was recently awarded a $180 million contract to produce 555 AGM-154C-1 Joint Stand-Off Weapons (JSOWs) for the U.S. Navy and Saudi Arabia. 


Iridium is the only commercial mobile satellite service (MSS) company offering coverage over the entire globe. Iridium is currently working on the development and construction phases of their new low-Earth orbiting satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, which will be the largest commercial space program in the world with 77 satellites in orbit. It is scheduled to launch in 2015. In a partnership with the Boeing plant in Chandler, Ariz., Iridium NEXT is receiving engineering, systems analysis and maintenance support from 200 Arizona contractors. Additionally, Tempe, Ariz., is home to the company’s Gateway Earth Station, the primary ground station for Iridium. General Dynamics C4 Systems employs approximately 4,500 employees in Arizona and was most recently awarded a $385 million contract for a U.S. Army Range Radar Replacement Program that will replace radars on Army Ranges around the U.S. (includes the Yuma facility).

Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell Aerospace, headquartered in Arizona with an estimated 9,500 employees locally, has estimated revenue of $16 billion in 2014. Honeywell Aerospace has developed some of the most advanced products in aerospace technology in Arizona, with recent announcements like the development of its IntuVue Weather Radar, or its innovations in turbine engine engineering. At the 2015 Paris Air Show, Honeywell Aerospace announced more than $1.3 billion in new contract with major companies including General Electrics, easyJet, Continental Airlines, Embraer, Airbus and Boeing. 

F-35 Fighter

F-35 Fighter has a pilot training center at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., its official preferred training base. By 2024, 144 F-35 Jets will be stationed in Arizona, creating approximately 700 new jobs and requiring nearly 2,300 new construction jobs for new hangars, facilities, and more. Luke AFB is already home to the world's largest F-16 fighter base and is the jet’s main training site. Luke contributes thousands of jobs and more than $1 billion annually to the local economy.