Ten Aerospace Cluster Markets in the South You May Not Know About
Everyone knows about the South's largest aviation and aerospace cluster markets. Wichita, Fort Worth, Huntsville, San Antonio, Atlanta, St. Louis, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and almost the entire state of Maryland are home to tens of thousands of aerospace workers and hundreds of companies. But there are many more markets in the South that may yield opportunities for your aviation or aerospace concern. Here are 10 that you may not know about.
Camden, Ark. has an outstanding aviation and aerospace cluster. Aerojet (GenCorp), General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin Missile & Fire Control, Raytheon Missile Systems, National Technical Systems, Armtec Defense Products and AMC (Arkansas Machine Co.) all operate facilities in the Highland Industrial Park. Highland Industrial Park is one of the largest industrial parks in the South with over 15,000-acres. Almost all of the 2,500 employees at the park work in aerospace and/or defense-related fields.
Lake Charles, La.
Lake Charles, located in Southwest Louisiana, is home to Chennault International Airport. Northrop Grumman has been a tenant of Chennault's for 12 years building the Joint STARS aircraft for the Air Force. In addition, Aeroframe Services has operated at Chennault since 2000 as a MRO and just last month announced a large expansion in Lake Charles that will add 300 new employees.
We bet you didn't know that the highest concentration of aerospace companies in the state of North Carolina is in Monroe. There are 12 aerospace-related companies clustered within a seven-mile radius and 2,600 people in Monroe are working in aerospace. Since 2002, companies like Turbomeca Manufacturing, ATI Allvac, Cyril Bath, Goodrich Corporation, Caledonia Alloys, Keywell and ORO have invested $500 million in their operations in Monroe.
An important aerospace project is going up in Prince George County, Va. Rolls Royce began construction on a new 140,000-square-foot facility at Crosspointe in Petersburg, Va. that will produce discs that contain the blades in turbofan engines. Discs manufactured at Crosspointe will be used in some of Rolls Royce's newest engines that will be optimized for the Boeing 787, Airbus A380 and A350XWB. Rolls Royce has plans to build other facilities at the site in Prince George County to produce additional equipment for the F136 engine that will be outfitted on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Crosspointe will be the largest Rolls Royce project by area in North America, with ample room to accommodate suppliers in the future.
Martinsville became an emerging aerospace market in the Small Town South (www.SmallTownSouth.com) when it landed the RTI International Metals project last year. RTI is a producer of titanium used in a variety of industry sectors, about half of which is used in composite materials for next generation aircraft.
Kinston is located in eastern North Carolina and is home to North Carolina's Global TransPark, a 2,400-acre (over 5,000 acres developable) industrial airport site that features an 11,500-foot runway. The reason the Global TransPark is an emerging aerospace cluster market centers on Spirit Aerosystems and the 500,000-square-foot facility it is completing there. Spirit will build center fuselages for the A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) program.
Tishomingo County, Miss.
Alliant Techsystems (ATK) announced in November that Airbus SAS and its partners Aerolia SA, Premium Aerotec GmbH and Spirit AeroSystems, have selected the company to produce composite structures and tooling for its next-generation A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) aircraft. Total expected revenues for ATK amount to approximately $1 billion in the deal. The company will produce the composite components at its manufacturing center of excellence in Tishomingo County, Miss. At peak production, ATK could produce up to 25 miles of A350 XWB composite components per month.
Wayne Co., N.C.
Goldsboro/Wayne County is the home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, which hosts the 4th Fighter Wing and 916th Air Refueling Wing. The strong relationship established between the base and the Wayne Co. community has been an integral part of the area's ability to attract and retain a highly skilled and qualified workforce, and has enabled Wayne Co. to land such nationally renowned aerospace companies as AAR. When AAR Goldsboro – Air Cargo and Mobility Divisions – located here in 2006, the availability of the county's qualified and certified workforce was cited as a driving factor in their decision. Additionally, Wayne County has several AS9100/ISO9001 certified companies to meet the standards of excellence aerospace companies demand.
Hampton is a robust and vibrant waterfront city in southeastern Virginia. The influence of NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Langley Air Force Base and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) help to make Hampton one of the top high-tech locations on the East Coast. Researchers at LaRC are focusing on some of the biggest technical challenges of our time: global climate change, access to space and revolutionizing airplanes and the air transportation system. The NIA is a world-class research and education institute created to do cutting edge aerospace and atmospheric research, develop new technologies for the nation and help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Mid Atlantic - Bridgeport W. Va.
The Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex (MAAC) promotes the North Central West Virginia Airport, its members and their capabilities in attracting aerospace clients and prospects throughout the world. MAAC's membership of Fortune 500 companies include Aurora Flight Sciences, Bombardier, FMW Composite Systems, KCI Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney Engine Services and two state of the art training centers including the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center and the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing. The complex features full infrastructure ready for new development, a 7,000-foot runway and a fully staffed FAA tower. MAAC also features a NASA-sponsored Aerospace Education Program.