Aerospace & Defense

Northwest Florida is becoming a serious center of aerospace activity. Your company can benefit from the strategic advantages Northwest Florida has in the aerospace and defense industry, including:

  • Proximity to six major aerospace OEMs
  • Six major aviation military installations
  • Large aerospace workforce in place
  • Exiting military grows the workforce every year
  • Available sites with runway access
  • Robust aviation training programs
  • Active R&D, including the McKinley Climatic Lab, Air Force Research Lab, and the UF Reef

Skilled Labor

Northwest Florida enjoys an abundant, highly skilled workforce as evidenced from the following Aerospace / Defense numbers:

  • 56,000+ employed in Military Occupations
  • 3,000 military personnel exiting each year
  • 3,400+ employed in Aerospace Parts Manufacturing or Maintenance

The laborshed has more jobs in the following Aerospace and Defense-related occupations than the US average:

Job Types Ratio to U.S. average
Turbine and Turbine Generator Set Units Manufacturing 7x more
Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing 6x more
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians 2x more
Avionics Technicians 2x more


The laborshed has seen significant growth in aerospace- and defense-related jobs over the last five years:

  • 234% growth in Turbine and Turbine Generator Set Units Manufacturing

  • 55% growth in Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing

  • 49% growth in Aircraft Manufacturing


A future pipeline of aerospace workers is educated by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with locations at many of our military bases, as well as at George Stone Technical College, Northwest Florida State College, and Haney Technical Center, which offer Aviation Airframe Mechanics and Aviation Powerplant Mechanics programs. Learn more about the educational institutions in the region.

Northwest Florida will benefit from $1.5 billion in economic development enhancements, such as workforce training and infrastructure, over the next 15 years. Additionally, Florida ranks among the best states for business because of its pro-business tax policies and competitive cost of doing business.

Your company can benefit from inducements to help offset initial costs when locating a new or expanding your existing business in Northwest Florida. Moreover, your business dollars go further given the state's limited corporate taxes and your employees benefit from 0% state personal income tax.

Learn more about incentives your business can take advantage of with a Northwest Florida location.


The Northwest Florida laborshed includes the following Aerospace and Defense-related companies:

  • 15 Aircraft Manufacturing
  • 9 Aircraft Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing
  • 9 Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing

Airport Sites

The region offers several industrial sites well-suited for aviation and aerospace operations.

Pensacola International Airport — 350+ acres of land available, runways with 7,000+ feet, foreign trade zone #249, home to VT MAE MRO Hangar, 59 miles from the Airbus A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, AL.

Whiting Aviation Park — A 239-acre commercial/industrial park adjacent to Naval Air Station Whiting Field. Through a limited-access use agreement, civilian tenants of the Aviation Park will be able to use the Navy’s airfield facilities.

Okaloosa Industrial Air Park — 360 total acres, 135 acres are certified and offer onsite access to Bob Sikes Airport, a general aviation and industrial use airport with 8,000+ foot runway.

DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport — Nearly 300-acre airport industrial park, with 22-acre and 34-acre parcels that are certified with runway access.

Marianna Airport Commerce Park — 237 acres are certified and adjacent to the Marianna Municipal Airport with two 5,000 foot runways.

Venture Crossings — 195 total acres; 10 under development, 111 contiguous, 185 available. Adjacent to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport with a 10,000-foot runway.

Apalachicola Regional Airport — county-owned, public use airport. It was originally constructed by the US Army Air Corps and was a sub base of Tyndall AFB. It has three 5,000+ foot runways.


Many of our R&D facilities in the region cater to aerospace-related innovations, such as:

  • Air Force Research Lab Munitions Directorate
  • Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion
  • McKinley Climatic Lab

Read more about our R&D and innovation assets…

Featured Companies


Started in 1992, Avalex has grown and expanded from a single product line to seven distinct products offering numerous options to special mission operators. With 25 years of experience in every aspect of the development of displays, smart displays and tablets, mapping systems, digital video recorders, cockpit management units, and mission computers including hardware and software integration, Avalex incorporates the latest technologies to customize products to meet specific customer requirements.

Micro Systems

Micro Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is an AS9100 Rev. C and ISO 9001:2008 certified company. It is a world leader in high performance Air, Land, and Sea Surface vehicle control. It offers a broad range of products including Unmanned Vehicle Control Systems, Autopilots and Mission Computers, Radar Tracking and Command Data Link Transponders, Scoring Systems, Custom Test Equipment, and Flight Termination Systems.

On Point

On-Point Defense Technologies, LLC, is a veteran-owned, small business that supports the Department of Defense and Defense Companies by designing, developing, integrating, and testing commercial and defense products. On-Point Defense Technologies, LLC (OPDT) is a full-spectrum design, manufacturing, prototyping, and systems integration firm. It mitigates customer portfolio risks via upgrading, repurposing, and sustaining legacy weapon system technology — reducing cost and schedule while enhancing warfighter capabilities!

Vertex Aerospace

Vertex Aerospace is a vertically integrated, one-stop shop for parts fabrication through end-item aerostructures, aircraft maintenance, and modifications. Vertex Aerospace offers its customers great value, high quality, and superb schedule performance.



Florida’s Great Northwest is here to provide you the practical, on-the-ground resources and support you need for your business location/expansion project. From incentives to site selection to workforce development, we’ve got the expertise and connections to help your business be even more competitive with a Northwest Florida location.

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