Defense & Aerospace

Welcome to Northeast Indiana, where high-quality talent and industry leaders join forces to ensure the safety and advancement of the nation. The state of Indiana has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the nation and low electricity costs compared to the states competing for defense contracts. Primed for success with an educated workforce of more than 38,000 engineers (46% higher than the national average), some of the biggest names in aerospace and defense are strategically positioned here in Northeast Indiana. From global aerospace powerhouse BAE Systems to leading U.S. defense contractors Raytheon Technologies and L3Harris Technologies, these companies collectively employ more than 2,000 people at their Fort Wayne locations.

Top Facts about the Defense and Aerospace Industry in Northeast Indiana

  1. Indiana has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the nation among states competing for defense contracts.
  2. Northeast Indiana is about 225 miles from six of the top 15 engineering schools in the nation.
  3. Every second, somewhere in the world, an aircraft lands or takes off with control systems made or maintained in Northeast Indiana.
  4. Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) has a nearly 12,000-foot runway and a cargo-sort facility. It also serves as a foreign trade zone (FTZ #182).
  5. Northeast Indiana is home to hundreds of Department of Defense suppliers and service providers.
  6. PWC named Indiana the 6th most attractive state for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness.


Defense and Aerospace Talent

In Northeast Indiana, we know that our defense and aerospace companies require the nation’s best talent. And we are committed to providing it. Coupling our certified training programs with higher-education engineering and IT degrees, we are ensuring local defense and aerospace businesses have the talent pipeline they need.

  1. Northeast Indiana employs 10,800 residents in defense and aerospace.
  2. The region is home to more than 38,000 engineers, which is 46% higher than the national average.
  3. Northeast Indiana is known for its top engineering programs at Purdue University Fort Wayne and Trine University.


Business Climate

  • Leaders from top companies formed the Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association (NIDIA), working together to enhance the region’s talent pipeline in the defense and aerospace industry.
  • The 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne employs approximately 1,000 individuals and creates over $77 million in economic impact.


Investments in Defense

  • In 2020, BAE Systems purchased Collins Aerospace’s military GPS business from Raytheon Technologies Corporation for $1.9 billion with a commitment to continue to do business in Fort Wayne because of access to top talent.
  • In 2021, L3Harris Technologies completed a 45,000-square-foot expansion in Fort Wayne, hiring 100 new employees. Since 2018, L3Harris has invested over $50 million in its Fort Wayne facility.


“Northeast Indiana is a national leader in defense manufacturing and engineering talent. Hoosiers in the third district create advanced satellites, sonobuoys to detect submarines, electronic warfare technologies and more to protect our country. As a leader on the House Armed Services Committee, I have firsthand knowledge of the importance and ingenuity of the national security work in our community.” U.S. Congressman Jim Banks.

Defense and Aerospace


Download this PDF to learn more about Northeast Indiana’s unique support for some of the world’s largest defense contractors.

Interested in learning more about Northeast Indiana's Defense and Aerospace industry? Contact us for access to more data and to discuss opportunities and incentives our region offers.

Company Product
BAE Systems Aerospace
C&A Tool Engineering Inc. Tool and Die Maker
L3Harris Technologies Satellite Imaging
Raytheon Technologies Aerospace
Ultra Electronics Sonobuoys
Trelleborg AB Seals for Industrial, Automotive and Aerospace
Total Control Systems Aviation Metering Solutions

Source: Development Counsellors International (DCI), 2021

Occupation 2020 NEI Employment 2020 NEI Median Annual Wages 2020 National Median Annual Wages NEI/US
General and Operations Managers 5,753 $85,323 $100,371 85.0%
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 5,000 $43,428 $39,030 111.3%
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers 4,341 $57,296 $61,099 93.8%
Machinists 4,098 $43,765 $44,348 98.7%
Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers 3,319 $37,708 $42,335 89.1%
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers 3,215 $39,531 $39,198 100.8%
Molding, Coremaking and Casting Machine Setters 2,315 $36,963 $32,136 115.0%
Industrial Production Managers 889 $87,709 $104,562 83.9%
Computer and Information Systems Managers 441 $124,196 $145,870 85.1%
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians 269 60470 63966 94.5%
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologists and Technicians 243 $57,440 $65,071 88.3%

Source: Emsi 2021

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