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Aerospace and Defense

Aerospace Defense

Southeast Mississippi is home to eight of the world's top ten defense companies that are working to provide our most important assets with their most important assets. (Defense News)

Not only are there more than 1,100 defense contractors located in Southeast Mississippi, those contractors have been awarded more than 17,000 contracts in the last 11 years.

Several key U.S. Congressmen call Mississippi home. Rep. Bennie Thompson is a ranking member of Homeland Security and has significant influence on travel and trade issues. Rep. Steven Palazzo serves as a member of the Armed Services Committee and is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics (NASA). Sen. Thad Cochran is a ranking member of both the Full Senate Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense, and supports the interests of the state's aviation and aerospace industry, and Sen. Roger Wicker is a member of the Armed Services Committee. Other congressional leaders, including Rep. Gregg Harper and Rep. Alan Nunnelee, play a vital role in promoting Mississippi's business-friendly environment.

Pascagoula and Gulfport, where generations are vested in shipbuilding, is home to Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc., the largest supplier of U.S. Navy surface combatants, having built over 70 percent of the Navy's warship fleet. Huntington Ingalls is also the sole source for nuclear submarines, has 50 percent of the destroyer market, and is the sole source in nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and amphibious ships.

  • Southeast Mississippi is home to over 1,000 tier one, tier two and tier three defense contractors* plus U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard bases.
  • Approximately 55 defense-related manufacturers are located in Mississippi. Combined, they employ 21,000 people in the state.
  • Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Moss Point, which manufactures and assembles Fire Scout and Global Hawk UAVs, is producing one of the most technologically advanced unmanned systems anywhere. Northrop Grumman also manufactures the United States Navy's MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
  • Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi, is America's largest rocket and engine test complex and its high-performance computing capability ranks 10th worldwide.
  • The Gulf Coast region of the state has one of the greatest concentrations of avionics and aircraft maintenance personnel in the United States when compared to all mid-size metropolitan markets.


Leading Aerospace and Defense Companies in Southeast Mississippi

  • BAE Systems
  • GE Aviation
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
  • Lockheed Martin Space
  • Systems, Co.
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Co.
  • Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
  • Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
  • Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems
  • Raytheon Technical Services
  • Rolls-Royce
  • SAIC
  • SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica Company
  • Aerojet-Rocketdyne Propulsion

A Trained and Ready Workforce

A strong educational system, combined with a growing pool of workers already trained in aerospace and defense operations, ensure that your company will find a highly skilled workforce available to meet your needs.

At the announcement of GE Aviation's facility in Ellisville, MS, President & CEO David Calhoun commented that the facility would involve "the most sophisticated manufacturing that GE does". And Mississippi's workforce is ready for the challenge.

The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg is a national leader in the area of polymer science, with one of the top programs in the United States. The premier Mississippi Polymer Institute also includes one of the most advanced rapid prototyping systems in the world. In addition, James D. Byrd, a Mississippi native, is a polymer scientist who developed the plastic used as heat shields by NASA.

Mississippi State University (MSU) in Starkville is home to a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center and offers undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering. The Raspet Flight Laboratory, which is part of the Aerospace Engineering School at MSU, specializes in the design and testing of materials to support rapid prototyping for lighter weight aircraft.

In addition to offering a broad education and training program, the state also provides businesses with access to a strong research environment through its universities. Mississippi State University in Starkville is one of the nation's top research institutions, while the University of Mississippi has been named a Carnegie II Research Institution, making it one of the top 125 research institutions in the United States.

Mississippi Aerospace Initiative Incentives Program

Mississippi's Aerospace Initiative Incentives program provides tax incentives to companies that manufacture or assemble components for the aerospace industry or provide research, development or training services for the sector and are looking to locate or expand in the state. Companies must invest at least $30M and create at least 100 full-time jobs for this incentive.

This industry-specific tax incentive program includes a 10-year exemption from income and franchise taxes, as well as a sales and use tax exemption for the start-up of the qualifying facility.



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