The Aerospace and Defense Industry Finds a Home in Utah

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The Aerospace and Defense Industry Finds a Home in Utah

In June, the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah) hosted the Utah Aerospace & Defense Industry Event. With featured speakers from the Department of Defense and Northrop Grumman, the discussions focused on the future of the aerospace and defense sectors in Utah, as well as the private and public partnerships that are helping to make the state an important site for the industry. 

A quick survey of some of the recent aerospace and defense projects that are either underway or have been completed in Utah, clearly shows that this is a growing industry that has considerable financial impact on our state. Some notable developments in the last few years include:

  • In 2018, Go Utah announced that Moog, Inc. will expand its operations in the state, adding up to 120 jobs, $4.9 million in new state revenue, and $2.23 million in capital investments. Go Utah provided Moog with just under $1 million in post-performance tax credits. Those hired will assemble and test a new remote turreted weapon system. 
  • In 2019, Hill Air Force Base completed a $35 million facility to house its award-winning 309th Software Engineering Group, which develops critical software for the weapon systems on its fighter jets. A 72,000 square-foot facility, designed for software development and integration, was added in 2021. Over the next decade, the base plans to expand the staff from 1,600 to more than 3,000. The project was funded in part by the Utah State Legislature, which appropriated $21.5 million to developing the software campus. 
  • In 2019, Go Utah announced that L3Harris Technologies will expand its operations in Utah, adding up to 250 jobs and $6.7 million in state revenue over the next nine years. In addition, the company is building a new $50 million manufacturing facility for rapid prototyping and development of new products. Go Utah approved $1.2 million in post-performance tax credits and a $100,000 grant to support the expansion.
  • In 2020, Northrop Grumman and the state of Utah were awarded a $13.3 billion defense contract to construct 400 new intercontinental ballistic missiles. The company is on track to hire 5,000 new employees. Go Utah approved an almost $60 million post-performance tax credit for the company.
  • And just this summer, Northrop Grumman secured a $2 billion contract with the United Launch Alliance, and will be hiring 200 new employees to manufacture solid rocket boosters.

Almost all of the above examples were supported by a significant financial investment by the state of Utah. And, as Governor Cox noted at the June Aerospace & Defense event, “the return to taxpayers has been significant.”

The governor’s statement is backed up by a comprehensive report by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. It found that Utah’s defense industry contributes an estimated 10.6% of Utah’s GDP ($19.3 billion); directly and indirectly supports 10.3% of the state’s employment (211,285 jobs); and provides 9.5% of its personal income ($13.9 billion). The report also noted that, on average, compensation for defense jobs is 35.7% more than for non-defense jobs. 

These are remarkable numbers! They make clear that, in addition to its importance to national security and the advancement of scientific research, the aerospace and defense industry is fundamental to the economic health of our state.

Industrial Supply Company has long supported those working in the aerospace and defense sectors. From our start 106 years ago, when our founder promoted the expansion of Utah’s aviation capabilities, to today, as an AS9120 and ISO 9001 certified company, we are proud to provide safe, quality, and reliable products to this growing industry. 

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