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Northwest Florida, a global leader in the Aerospace, Aviation and Defense sector, is home to the following military bases, five of which are aviation-related:

  • Pensacola Naval Air Station
  • Whiting Field
  • Eglin Air Force Base, including Duke Field
  • Hurlburt Field
  • Naval Support Activity Panama City
  • Tyndall Air Force Base
Specific information on the missions of each base can be found in our Northwest Florida Aerospace and Defense Industry brochure, as well as our Military Assets page. With nearly 44,000 active duty Air Force, Navy and Army personnel and more than 19,000 civilians employed in Aviation, Aerospace, and Defense, Northwest Florida’s workforce is second to none. The dedicated and highly skilled workforce includes scientists, engineers, production workers, and information technology specialists.

The unique concentration of military bases has attracted many of the largest U.S. defense contractors, international companies, and commercial aviation businesses to Northwest Florida. These companies, together with the Department of Defense, are engaged in a variety of cutting-edge research and development activities. In addition, there is a regional university-based research and development infrastructure which includes Florida State University, the University of Florida, Florida A&M University, and the University of West Florida, with university centers of research in Aero-Propulsion, Robotics, Commercial Space Flight, and Composite Materials & Systems.

The Gulf Coast is home to one of the largest concentrations of aviation, aerospace, and defense assets in the world, and Northwest Florida is a major component of that geographic cluster. In addition to the skilled workforce and cutting edge research and development, the region offers a variety of aviation-focused business and industrial parks, including many with direct “through the fence” airfield access.

Expansive areas of restricted airspace over land and the Gulf of Mexico make Northwest Florida an ideal location for test and evaluation activities, including testing of unmanned air systems, where the Panhandle has become a global leader. 

With a dedicated and skilled workforce, university research and engineering support, and buildings and sites tailored specifically to aviation-related companies, Northwest Florida is the ideal location for defense related companies, as well as both commercial and military aviation and aerospace companies looking to locate or expand their business.

Northwest Florida is currently home to many aviation-related companies as evident by the map below. For information on companies within the subsectors, please expand the boxes beneath the map.

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Aerospace & Defense - Map

Aerospace Product and Parts ManufacturingAir Transportation and Support ActivitiesChemical and Composite Material ManufacturingComputer and Electronic Equipment ManufacturingFabricated Metal Product ManufacturingInformation Technology, Systems Integration and Network SolutionsMachinery, Equipment, and Supplies Merchant WholesalersMaintenance, Repair and OverhaulProfessional, Scientific, and Technical Services Back to top

"As a defense contractor involved in aerospace manufacturing we are fortunate to be located in Northwest Florida where we enjoy an abundant, highly skilled labor force, and reasonable operating costs, enhancing our competitive position in the industry."

Pamela Bechtold, President
Certified Manufacturing, Inc. (CMI)


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