As one of the state’s biggest employment generators, Oklahoma City and the aviation and aerospace defense industry go hand in hand. The biggest names in aerospace have operations in Oklahoma City including Boeing Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin Aircraft, Northrop Grumman, General Electric Aviation and AAR Aircraft Services. Much of their work is anchored by Tinker Air Force Base, the largest single-site employer in the state contributing more than $3 billion to the local economy annually.
Tinker’s more than 26,000 military and civilian employees are a key part of the U.S. military’s depot maintenance, supply chain management and installation support. Tinker has provided depot-level maintenance on the KC-135 tanker for more than 60 years and will add the maintenance of the KC-46A Pegasus and the B-21 Raider to its workload as the Air Force transitions to its next generation of aircraft.
Oklahoma City also added aircraft production to its aerospace industry portfolio with the presence of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., a company that produces high-performance, low-cost jet drones that support the U.S. military and foreign ally military customers/users. The first MQM-178 Firejet target drone aircraft rolled off the production line in OKC a few months ago, and the company also announced that the production facility will be the future home of the XQ-58A Valkyrie.
All of these factors combine to create a massive impact on Oklahoma City’s economy: More than 230 aerospace firms now located in our region, the industry workforce has grown to more than 36,600 in Greater Oklahoma City, and aerospace firms now produce $4.9 billion in goods and services locally.