Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance holds first ever meeting in NEA

by George Jared ([email protected]) 176 views 

Eaker Air Force Base.

The Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance held its first-ever meeting in Northeast Arkansas on Wednesday (June 26). Members gathered at the Arkansas Aeroplex and Arkansas Northeastern College. County leaders gave aerospace and economic updates.

The Arkansas Aeroplex is home to 40 commercial businesses, including Aviation Repair Technologies (ART), a member of the Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance. The Aeroplex, formerly Eaker Air Force Base, features an 11,600-foot-long, 300-foot-wide runway and is the designated site of the National Cold War Center, scheduled to open in 2027.

“We are laser-focused on growing the aerospace and defense industry in Arkansas and promoting the members we have across the state, including those located in Mississippi County, Aviation Repair Technologies (ART) and the Arkansas Aeroplex,” Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance executive director Chad Causey said. “We are appreciative of the invitation to come to the Aeroplex and explore the growth potential that exists here for the industry and our state.”

Congress recently approved Mississippi County for $2 million in funding for further clean-up efforts at the Arkansas Aeroplex. Last year $1 million was invested in runway improvements at the facility.

Aerospace and defense products are the state’s top exports, worth nearly $1.5 billion annually. More than 10,000 Arkansans work in aerospace and defense jobs at approximately 200 companies across the state.

“We have a great economic development story to tell in Mississippi County and are appreciative of the Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance members for joining us today at the Arkansas Aeroplex,” said County Judge John Alan Nelson. “Aerospace and defense is an important part of our state’s economy and represents a tremendous growth opportunity for Mississippi County, which is already the top steel producing county in the United States.”

Mississippi County has experienced significant economic growth over the past few years, bolstered by key investments in its steel industry. Since the implementation of a half-cent economic development sales tax in 2003, the county has generated $8 billion in capital investment, creating 8,000 new jobs.