Defense Dollars Deployed

Defense Dollars Deployed

The U.S. Department of Defense and its various departments have been spending serious dollars with Indiana manufacturing and technology companies over the past several months, and now the state is maneuvering to take things up a notch.

By our own low-ball estimate, military operations have contracted roughly $1.5 billion worth of products like advanced engines, aircraft, watercraft, parts, materials, and technology from Hoosier companies recently, and activities like these are only expected to grow.


A Strategy to Triple Investment

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has set a goal to triple federal defense investment by 2025 and has launched a new collaborative effort to make that happen. Last year, The Indiana Office of Defense Development (IODD) was launched as a new business unit of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to better align the state’s defense development efforts.

Basically, the IODD is going to be connecting the dots for a whole bunch of military-related entities. It will promote the state’s defense assets, assist in business development, and attract and support defense-related industry partnerships and activities.

All defense-focused resources and programs, including the Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), will be coordinated by the IODD. The office will also coordinate directly with industry stakeholders like the Commanders Roundtable, Indiana Defense Task Force, and Indiana Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association.

This approach complements the state’s major defense installations such as the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division, Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base, Camp Atterbury, and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, and the state’s own large military presence. Additionally, these efforts aim to build on a trend of major defense contractors like AM General, BAE Systems, Honeywell International, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, and Saab growing their operations in Indiana.


Business Has Been Good

Over the last few months, dollar amounts in the hundreds of millions have been deployed at companies across Indiana. This spending not only reflects improvements for American military capabilities, but also goes a long way toward securing quality livelihoods for employees of these firms. Several of the recent major announcements include:

  • $1.276 Billion – Rolls-Royce Corp. was awarded a new $1.2 billion contract from the U.S. Navy to continue its work on engines for the V-22 Osprey. The aircraft has tiltrotor systems, meaning it can take off like a helicopter but cruise like a turboprop aircraft.

    The company was also awarded a $9 million contract extension from the U.S. Navy for three spare AE1107C engines for the Japanese government’s V-22 Osprey program.

    Additionally, Rolls-Royce was awarded a $67 million contract from the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation for supplies to upgrade T-56 turboprop engine, used by the U.S. Air Force and Navy.

  • $54M – AAR Aircraft Services Inc. was awarded a $45 million contract modification for work on the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, an aircraft used for anti-submarine warfare. The aircraft is armed with torpedoes and sonar-equipped buoys. Some of the work will support government of Australia.

    The company will also be providing maintenance and repair for four P-8A Poseidon aircraft in a $9 million contract for the U.S. Navy. The aircraft carriers anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, and other weapons.

  • $20M – Harris Corp. was awarded a contract from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to build the “Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program,” which includes new capabilities for the U.S. missile shield.
  • $8M – George Koch Sons LLC was awarded a contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command to design, fabricate, supply, and install metal finishing processes.
  • $93M – Jacobs Technology Inc., a Florida-based company, was awarded a contract for air and underwater testing of a new weapons system. Design work and testing will take place at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane.
  • $9.5M – GTA Containers Inc. has been awarded a contract to build collapsible fuel tanks for the U.S. Air Force. This is an extension of a previous $24 million order.


Potential for New Innovations

An additional development that could be advantageous for business is the state’s new National Guard cyber battalion, the nation’s fifth such division. Announced in the latter part of last year, the new 127th Cyber Protection Battalion will be made up of nearly 100 soldiers focused on cyber security and cyber warfare. They will have access to the DOD’s only live, full-scale cyber range at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County, which conducts realistic simulations for cyber and electronic warfare testing and training. They will also receive training from Ivy Tech’s Cyber Academy at Muscatatuck.

This is advantageous for Indiana businesses because most National Guard members are part-time. They’ll be taking their additional cybersecurity education and skills back with them into the civilian workforce and strengthening cybersecurity at their companies.

The new cyber battalion also fosters opportunity for innovation and advancement given that Indiana is also home to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, which has numerous experts in cyber security and hardware assurance.


Security, in All Forms

The defense industry is certainly an appreciated customer for the state of Indiana, and renewed efforts to take that patronage further will likely result in sustaining and/or creating significant numbers of Hoosier jobs. In a way, this this is an additional and form of security for American citizens; job security generated by national security. Perhaps the two are equally important. In any case, both are good for business.