Gov. Asa Hutchinson spent a week in Europe in June, but it was no vacation. He was recruiting aerospace companies to his state at the Paris Air Show, which concluded on June 21, and metals companies at the METEC International Metallurgical Trade Fair in Düsseldorf, Germany. Both industries have a presence in Arkansas, and the governor is hoping to boost investment in them.
“The fact that Arkansas is participating in the Paris Air Show for the first time reflects the fact that this sector is among those that we have determined have potential for significant growth in the state,” said Governor Hutchinson prior to his trip. “We have a great story to tell aerospace companies in Paris. Aerospace is our number one export, totaling more than $1.6 billion in 2014. While that is an impressive number, Arkansas has the workforce and infrastructure in place to continue to build on this success. I look forward to sharing the story of Arkansas with aerospace companies from around the world.”
In Little Rock, Dassault Falcon operates a service center and a completion center for all Falcon jets worldwide. The complex occupies nearly 1 million sq. ft. (92,900 sq. m.), making it the aerospace company’s largest facility worldwide.
In October 2013, Lockheed Martin announced plans to relocate production of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to an assembly line at the company’s award-winning Camden, Ark., manufacturing complex.
“Lockheed Martin is implementing a low-risk production plan that will take advantage of the proven, outstanding Camden manufacturing operation and help make our JLTV more affordable for the US Army and Marine Corps,” said Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, at the time. JLTV prototypes were produced at BAE Systems’ Sealy, Texas, manufacturing facility for the program’s Technology Development and Engineering and Manufacturing Development phases.
On the metals side, even before the METEC confab in Germany, Arkansas won a significant investment in its steel sector. Southwest Steel Processing, a manufacturer of railcar and oil and gas components, announced on June 1st an $18-million expansion at its Newport facility, where it will develop a second forging line. In February 2014, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Arkansas Development Finance Authority approved an $11-million bond guaranty related to this expansion.