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Spotlight on New Hampshire’s Aerospace/Defense Industry at Farnborough International Airshow This Month

Nathaniel Nelson is an international trade officer with the Office of International Commerce and a member of the board of directors of the New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium. -ed.

New Hampshire’s high growth aerospace/defense industry will be highlighted next week at the Farnborough International Airshow and this is one of many activities this year aimed at helping hundreds of companies here continue to grow and get their products into global markets.

The state is sponsoring its first-ever booth at the show and the time is right to be in the spotlight. OIC and US Commercial Services staff, joined by a contingent of A&D businesses, is heading to England, ready to meet and mingle with some 1,500 exhibitors from 52 countries and thousands of people attending. At the last Farnborough Airshow, in 2016, $124 billion orders and commitments were placed, so there is good reason why it’s important for New Hampshire to be at this event.

The 4th annual New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Conference was held in May, drawing industry leaders for the opportunity to hear from experts about issues and challenges.

According to the Aerospace Industries Association, New Hampshire has realized one of the largest percentages of growth in aerospace and defense exports. This comes as no surprise to the over 350 aerospace/defense companies in the state that employ 60,000 people.

Over the past few years, New Hampshire and its businesses have worked hard to grow the aerospace and defense industry and these efforts are paying off. In a recent post by Aerospace Manufacturing and Design, it noted “the Granite State is quickly becoming the industry’s Northeast hub” and is projected to see a 3.8 percent growth in employment over the next few years.

This has not happened by accident. Back in 2013, we created the New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium, with a mission to foster the most opportune foreign markets for its members. At the 5-year mark, it boasts nearly 100 members and is realizing significant growth.

That growth will continue. Earlier this year, OIC worked with NHADEC on a 5-year strategic plan that continues the membership growth trajectory and builds on services offered to members. As it rolls out, our aerospace and defense companies will have more opportunities to market products, increase sales, and have more networking opportunities around the world.

OIC is continuing its work with the US Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment, on several federal grant projects, which are being used to help A&D businesses weather the impact of defense program budget changes. In New Hampshire, OIC has used these federal grants to help companies consider international markets where their products would be in demand. Accordingly, businesses have, for example, learned strategies to think about technology commercialization and were provided with the tools necessary to conduct thorough market research.

Further, OIC has worked with the five New England states to receive a joint grant of $1.5 million to create the New England Regional Defense Industry Collaboration. This organization will use grant funds to coordinate the growth of defense-related businesses across the six-state New England region.

The primary goals of the organization will be to aid businesses in meeting new cybersecurity requirements for businesses in the defense industry supply chain, as well as to create a trusted supplier network that will make it easier for large defense contractors to locate smaller suppliers that are able to meet their production, certification and process requirements.

These relationships will elevate the technological knowledge and sophistication of DoD small and medium-sized manufacturers, improving their competitiveness, ability to innovate, and overall value to the DoD. This is a tremendous opportunity for the region and will continue not only the region’s growth, but the state’s, as well.

This is a great time for the state’s aerospace and defense industry. Through efforts by the state and its partners, such as the U.S. Commercial Service and NHADEC, the industry is continuing to expand and grow. We’re excited for this growth and all that it means for the state and region.

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