Aerospace, Aviation and Military Defense

Connect – Invent - Thrive

North Carolina is able to attract and grow aerospace and military defense companies throughout all geographical areas of the state largely because the industry is a good fit with the state’s manufacturing tradition, existing workforce, growing population, training programs and university-based research.



North Carolina is an established, innovative and growing center for Aerospace, Aviation and Military Defense.

  • North Carolina became the launch pad for American aviation in 1903 with the First Flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright
  • North Carolina has more than 160 aerospace and aviation companies engaged in manufacturing and service and employs more than 13,000 skilled workers
  • Seven of the 10 largest global air defense companies have operations in North Carolina including Boeing, General Dynamics, GE, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon
  • There are nearly 200 companies in North Carolina that supply the aerospace industry by manufacturing products ranging from carbon and graphite products to fabricated metal products
  • North Carolina has four international airports, 74 publicly-owned airports and 300 privately-owned airports in the state
  • North Carolina is the first state in the nation to have statewide Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) coverage
  • More than 25 million passengers fly to and from North Carolina and more than 800 million pounds of air freight originate annually in the state
  • With over 100,000 active duty personnel at bases in North Carolina, military personnel transitioning out of the service represent a potential pool of talented, educated and disciplined employees

Aerospace, Aviation and Military Defense Resources

Where Powered Flight Began

Golden LEAF Opportunities for Work in Aerospace Manufacturing – special workforce development program

Workforce Needs Assessment for the Aerospace Industry in North Carolina