Aerospace And Defense Industry Locations: Cleared For Takeoff

As the aerospace and defense industry continues to grow, companies look for suitable locations.

Airbus produces A220 and A320 aircraft at its only U.S. manufacturing facility, located in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo: Courtesy Airbus)


By Nora Caley
From the January/February 2024 Issue


Shaped by factors ranging from the resurgence of air travel to global unrest, the aerospace and defense industry continues to experience a steady climb. Companies are expanding and seeking new locations to build manufacturing and testing facilities, and they are attracted by features such as skilled workers, infrastructure, and the presence of related businesses.

According to the 2023 edition of PwC’s Global Aerospace and Defense: Annual Industry Performance and Outlook, the aerospace and defense industry reported revenues of $741 billion in 2022, an increase of 3% from 2021. The report, which is based on analysis of financial reports of the 100 largest aerospace and defense companies, also noted that the industry had $67 billion in operating profit, up 8% from 2021.

The growth in aerospace was driven by factors such as surging passenger demand despite increased airfare prices, as consumers continue to seek experiences instead of goods. In defense, the growth was due partly to elevated geopolitical risks globally, resulting in increasesin defense budgets.

These global defense budgets are a factor because U.S. aerospace and defense industry exports increased 4.4% in 2022 to a total of $104.8 billion, according to the “2023 Facts & Figures” report by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) in collaboration with S&P Global Market Intelligence. The AIA report also noted that the industry exported to 213 countries in 2022, up from 205 in 2021.

The industry, according to the report, has returned to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels of employment and economic contributions to the U.S. economy. Employment rose beyond 2019 levels to a total workforce of 2.2 million in 2022, the highest since AIA began tracking this data.

The following highlights several locations with resources for aerospace and defense.

TexAmericas Center Leans Into Defense Legacy

Located on the Texas side of the Texarkana metropolitan statistical area, TexAmericas Center owns and operates one of the largest and top-ranked mixed-use industrial parks in the United States. With roughly 12,000 development-ready acres of land and approximately 3.5 million square feet of commercial and industrial product, TexAmericas Center is a catalyst for economic growth. Additionally, the organization offers third-party logistics, rail amenities, and a customer service philosophy that is focused on client business development goals. Since 1998, TexAmericas Center has dedicated itself to helping businesses succeed. The organization is a State of Texas-sanctioned Local Redevelopment Authority, managing former military property as part of an effort to redevelop that land while boosting employment and economic opportunities for the region.

TexAmericas Center
The TexAmericas Center complex has a long history in the defense industry. (Photo: Courtesy TexAmericas Center)


TexAmericas Center’s efforts to improve its land has resulted in thousands of acres available for development that are well-suited for defense industry businesses.

Defense Industry Cluster. TexAmericas Center is located on the footprint of the former Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant, which closed in 2005, and the Red River Army Depot, which is still an active military installation. Today, Lockheed Martin, BAE, Amentum, EnviroSafe Demil, Cherokee Nation Federal, AGR, and ExpalUSA all call TexAmericas Center home.

“There is an enormous concentration of defense activity here, whether it’s uniformed personnel or people making parts, or assembling vehicles,” said Scott Norton, CEO and Executive Director of TexAmericas Center. “Because of the amount of defense work occurring in the greater Texarkana region, we’re able to contribute to every level of the supply chain to support the industry.”

With the military history and current concentration of defense companies, new tenants will find space suited for their needs; a strong, skilled, and available workforce; and a partner in TexAmericas Center that can support them in speed-to-market and speed-to-profit.

“We are already a cluster location for businesses focused on defense, weapons systems, tactical wheeled vehicles, and more,” Norton said. “Because of that we have an existing labor force and training programs, and we have buildings that are well-suited for these industries. We also have vendors and suppliers that can be used to create an instant supply chain.”

In 2023, TexAmericas Center welcomed EnviroSafe Demil to the property. The clean technology, ammunition demilitarization company was formerly based in Nevada. With its move to Texas, it brought approximately $363 million in total contract values.

“In the summer of 1969, more than 30,000 people worked at the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant and Red River Army Depot, both of which operated for more than 65 years,” Norton said. “EnviroSafe Demil represents the strategic and forward-thinking vision that we strive for at TexAmericas Center, and we look forward to welcoming more tenants that can take advantage of the attributes our region has to offer to the defense industry.”

Defense companies can hit the bullseye with a presence at TexAmericas Center. With an enviable location, ideal space, and tailored services that enable businesses to seamlessly move or expand their footprint in the region, TexAmericas Center is the on-target choice for the defense industry.

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