The city of Goodyear, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix located close by Luke Air Force Base, is trying to recruit a mix of civilian and defense companies to take over a 500,000-square-foot aerospace campus no longer used by Lockheed Martin.
Goodyear had enjoyed an extended run as an aerospace hub since World War II, when it began to build military aircraft, before shifting to dirigibles and surveillance systems. That activity started to wind down in 2009, and when sequestration hit in 2013 Lockheed cut its workforce from 600 to 50, reported National Defense.
“We would like to recruit more aviation, aerospace and cyber security companies,” said Harry Paxton, Goodyear’s economic development project manager. Paxton also is going after firms that need the secure facilities, known as sensitive compartmented information facilities, found in some of the Lockheed buildings.
At the same time, the city wants to take advantage of its proximity to Luke, the Air Force’s new training center for F-35 pilots. The installation already has 23 F-35s, and by 2024 it is slated to have 144 of the fifth generation fighter aircraft in six squadrons.
“The question becomes, how do we maximize the potential industry connections to the F-35 that benefits both the Air Force and the companies that would come to Goodyear and be located just a few miles from Luke?” said Steven Hyjek, a Washington attorney who represents 14 communities that surround Luke.
For example, firms that support the aircraft’s systems likely would be interested in locating near Luke, Hyjek said.
As more F-35s arrive at Luke, “we expect more aerospace companies will be interested in doing business” in Goodyear, Hyjek told the magazine.