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.

Aerospace And Defense

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.

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Aerospace & Defense Growth

A 2015 study by the International Trade Administration, revealed that Arizona's aerospace & defense total exports rose by more than 21.8% from 2011 to 2014, reaching a $3.47 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 2014 Cyberstates Report ranks Arizona fourth nationwide for jobs in the space and defense systems manufacturing industry, employing more than 8,300 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, and also operates as the sole pilot training center for the F-35A Lightning II. 
  • 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:

  • Raytheon 
  • Honeywell International
  • General Dynamics C4 Systems 
  • The Boeing Company 
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Orbital Sciences Corporation
  • United Technologies
  • L3 Communications
  • Standard Aero (MRO)
  • Bombardier Inc.
  • Nammo Talley

A&D Rankings

  • #2 largest employment in guided missile systems manufacturing 
  • #2 largest employment in space and defense systems manufacturing 
  • #4 largest employment in aviation and aerospace manufacturing 
  • #6 largest employment in Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) occupations 
  • Top 10 largest employment in aviation and aerospace services
Industry Impact


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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Arizona Advantage


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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A&D Sectors


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

Arizona Recognized As Top State for Economic Competitiveness

• 06.8.2017

Two prominent trade publications -- Site Selection and Area Development magazines -- have honored Arizona with top recognition for large-scale economic development projects during 2016 in key industries, ranging from aerospace to finance to manufacturing. 

Arizona Commerce Authority Announces Awardees in the Spring 2017 Arizona Innovation Challenge

• 06.6.2017

The Spring 2017 round of the Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC) has concluded as the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) today announced six awardees in its bi-annual business plan competition. The ACA provides $3 million in grants annually to the most qualified, innovative startups and early-stage companies. Each company receives up to $250,000 in capital to grow their business -- advancing innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in Arizona.