Boeing’s Mesa Operations Land Major Defense Contract

Above: Boeing workers repair a battle-damaged AH-64 Apache at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa. Economy | 28 Oct, 2010 |

Arizona is on the receiving end of a multimillion-dollar defense contract.

The Boeing Company announced that it has received a $247 million contract to begin initial production of the U.S. Army’s AH-64D Apache Block III helicopter, the most advanced multi-role combat helicopter in the world. The helicopters will be assembled, flight-tested and delivered from the Boeing Global Strike facility in Mesa.

Boeing's Apache Longbow

The new agreement covers the production costs of eight Apache Block III helicopters. However, a memorandum signed by the Department of Defense on Oct. 7 authorized the program to eventually produce 51 aircraft during the initial phase.

“Since the early 1980s, Boeing has successfully produced helicopters and developed new technologies in Arizona,” said Tony Ham, Boeing Mesa site leader, in a press release. “With the recently announced contract award for Apache Block III production, and additional work on other programs, our company leaders anticipate a continued and growing relationship with the people and industry within the state.”

Word of the Boeing contract comes days before the newly formed Arizona Commerce Authority hosts Aviation Week’s Aerospace and Defense Supply Chain Conference Nov. 1-3 at the Arizona Biltmore.

According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, the aerospace and defense industries form one of the largest sectors in Arizona’s economy, generating $8.8 billion in gross state product and providing more than 93,800 jobs.

“Arizona is renowned for its strength and rich history in aviation and aerospace,” said Rob Morton of the Arizona Commerce Authority, in a press release. “The state’s affordable business costs, relatively low taxes, and competitive regulations have made it home to many of the aerospace and defense industry’s top companies.”

The Arizona Commerce Authority, formerly the Arizona Department of Commerce, is a public-private entity working to attract businesses to the state and encourage the expansion of companies already here. The agency maintains foreign trade offices in Asia, Europe and Mexico.

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