Utah’s growing aerospace and defense industry

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Utah’s Aerospace and Defense industry is big business. The state’s aerospace industry accounts for approximately 944 establishments and 31,390 jobs and is projected to grow by 2 percent per year over the next decade.

Companies like Albany Engineered Composites, BAE Systems, Boeing, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman proudly call Utah home. 

Utah excels in the core aerospace and defense competencies including design, composites manufacturing, software and control systems, sophisticated testing, and repair and maintenance. 

Specialized companies such as ACT Aerospace, Borsight, Janicki Industries and others contribute to the growing supply chain for both commercial and defense applications in the state. Additionally, Hill Air Force Base, with more than 22,000 employees, is the primary caretaker for the F-35 and can be attributed to having a multiplier effect on Utah’s growing defense industry.

“The aerospace and defense industries are major contributors to the state’s vibrant and healthy economy. These top-notch companies create a rippling effect that adds to the state’s growing supply chain. Innovative technologies enable diversification and fuel growth within our economy,” says Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Gov. Gary R. Herbert and delegates recently conducted a trade mission and participated in the International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France, where they built relationships within the aerospace and defense industry that could bring additional opportunities to Utah.

The show attracted more than 2,000 exhibitors from 48 countries, 142,000 professional visitors, 3,450 international journalists and 290 official delegations from 98 countries.Gov. Herbert and members of the Utah delegation met with 11 aerospace companies, including Airbus, Boeing, L3, Northrop Grumman and Parker Aerospace.

Eight small and medium-sized Utah aerospace companies participated as exhibitors at the Paris Air Show, including ACT Aerospace, Borsight, ElectraFly, EP Systems, IMSAR, Kihomac, Optysis and RAM Company.

These companies spent the week engaging with potential investors and clients to grow their businesses. Representatives from Barzan, an international investment fund, met with Electrafly, EP Systems and Optysis to explore potential investment opportunities.

Borsight met with representatives from the Qatar Defense Attaché Office and Qatari Ministry of Defense, to discuss opportunities for Borsight to expand its business in the Middle East.

“The Paris Air Show enabled Borsight to establish a global audience with over 70 countries, which is a significant increase in just one week. Our participation allowed us to capture important metrics vital to our success and helped us know how to market our products on an international scale more effectively,” says David  Fountain, vice president of business development at Borsight.

It’s through these types of opportunities — and local expertise in advanced materials, composite fabrication, and additive manufacturing — that Utah’s growing aerospace sector continues to excel.