The Jacksonville region has long been a leader in the aviation and aerospace industry and is now taking on a global leadership role in space and defense technology. The presence of some of the world’s leading providers and the emergence of new enterprises are drawing both interest and investment to Northeast Florida.
Several global companies anchor the strength of the region in space and defense.
- Northrop Grumman has been in the St. Augustine area for over 40 years, and from this location, they work on some of the military’s most sophisticated aircraft.
- Kaman Aerospace supplies metallic details, complex metallic aerostructures and metallic sub-assemblies for manned and unmanned helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and ground platforms.
- Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of high-performance wire and cable for a variety of industries with significant expertise in commercial aerospace, military and defense applications.
- Boeing has been operating at Cecil Field since 1999 and is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, space and security systems, defense and global services.
- Collins Aerospace provides intelligent solutions that sustain space exploration and mission success among other aviation and aerospace segments, and is a strategic business unit of RTX, the world’s largest aerospace company.
- Grace Aerospace is a full-service build to print aerospace manufacturer and systems integrator with capabilities in product development, engineering, structural fabrication, CNC machining, electrical assembly and systems integration.
All of these organizations continue to grow in the area because of the region’s ability to provide skilled talent. Jacksonville’s significant military presence enhances its standing in the space and defense technology landscape — Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport play a crucial role in shaping the city’s role in the defense ecosystem and provide a high-quality of-life destination for the 3,000+ military personnel that retire from active service each year.
Northeast Florida has seen the benefits of growth in the space sector given its proximity to the Space Coast. Commercial real estate around Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center is limited, marking another reason why the Jacksonville region is a logical place to relocate or expand — this has been true for Redwire Space, a global space infrastructure and innovation company enabling civil, commercial and national security programs. Redwire’s corporate headquarters moved to Jacksonville in 2020 specifically for those reasons and is drawing similar companies to the region.
In addition to the corporate growth in the region, the area’s infrastructure is preparing for the next generation of space exploration and tourism. Cecil Spaceport is the first commercial spaceport on the East Coast licensed to conduct horizontal launch operations and has been the center point for over $300 million in infrastructure improvements in the area.
Space and defense technology will continue to play a critical role in the global economy, and the Jacksonville region remains committed to supporting that growth.