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Aerospace + Defense Report

Oklahoma’s Aerospace + Defense Team provides services to Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industry sector and promotes the state as a premier destination for expanding and relocating aviation, aerospace, defense and autonomous systems companies.

2023 Report

Download our report on Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industry and the ACES program. 

Report Highlights 2023

Aerospace + Defense Economic Development Progress

Since 2018, the state has invested $6.2 million in the ACES program. Over that time, the ACES team has secured $1.9 billion in new capital investment.

14 Project Wins

71% were metro area wins and 29% were rural area wins.

$702.7 Million

The 14 announcements are expected to generate $702.7 million in capital investment.

2,538 New Jobs

5,400 additional new jobs with an average annual salary of $85,596 remained in the pipeline at the end of 2023.

$1.16 Billion

With the close of 2023, Commerce had 46 open A&D projects (potential for $1.16 billion in capital investment).

Major Aerospace + Defense News and Announcements

Oklahoma Aerospace Forum Highlights Industry Growth, Opportunities

Held in November, the Oklahoma Aerospace Forum provided an opportunity for individuals working in the aerospace and aviation industry to hear from experts on the current state of aerospace in Oklahoma, emerging technologies, workforce development and more. ACES served as the signature sponsor for the 2023 forum.

Statewide Partnerships Enhance Economic Development Opportunities

Research and development (R&D) is integral to economic development, especially in the areas of aerospace and defense. In Oklahoma, R&D related to emerging technologies as well as sustainment efforts for aging aircraft and weapon systems is critical. Oklahoma’s higher education research institutions have positioned themselves to be at the forefront of this R&D effort and support economic development initiatives.

ACES works alongside Oklahoma’s higher education partners to promote the exciting work being done on this front in the state and how it can positively impact Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense companies. This work impacts existing business, our military bases and new business we are bringing to the state.

Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute (OADII) – University of Oklahoma
OADII brings together the full range of the university’s capabilities and resources to provide holistic solutions addressing the aerospace, defense and global security challenges of today and tomorrow.

Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) – Oklahoma State University
OAIRE develops and nurtures unique ideas and research technologies within autonomous systems and provides related expertise for Oklahoma State University, the state of Oklahoma and the global autonomous community.

Trade Shows Create New Pathways For Oklahoma Companies

In December, Oklahoma City-based Avtrac announced its merger with M3 Aviation Group. This strategic merger brought together two esteemed independent technical consultancies, solidifying the newly combined company as a global presence for the lifecycle management of commercial and private aviation assets.

Avtrac partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in October 2023 to attend Aviation Week’s MRO Europe Conference and Exhibition in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It was during a meeting with M3 at this event that Avtrac was able to close the deal on this merger.

“This merger is a significant milestone for Avtrac and M3 Aviation Group, as it brings together expertise, resources, and networks to provide unparalleled services to clients in the aviation industry,” said Adam Beluska, Global Head – Sales & Business Development, Avtrac. “We appreciate Commerce and the ACES team for facilitating our presence at MRO Europe and bringing about an opportunity to close the deal with M3 in person.”

ACES Aerospace + Defense Recruiting Strategy

The state’s A&D industries are vast and highly complex. In order to maximize efforts, the ACES team is focusing on 4 broad-based objectives that are designed to provide the greatest return. These strategic pillars provide the basis for our state’s A&D strategy:

Provide the infrastructure to recruit, educate and train the workforce needed to sustain and grow the aerospace industry within the state.

Create an environment to attract startups of advanced technologies (additive technologies, batteries, electric propulsion, commercial space, unmanned systems) that are interwoven and connected to one another.

Develop a university-led innovation cluster to support the aerospace and defense industry of the future.

Position Oklahoma to be the center of excellence for the aviation engine sustainment enterprise.

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