Indiana aerospace takes off | News

Indiana is perhaps best known for its Hoosier hospitality and endless fields of corn. Few know the state is also home to a thriving aerospace industry. That’s right – rockets.

In 2016, Indiana was ranked sixth in the nation as one of the most attractive states for aerospace manufacturing, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Just one year before, it was ranked 18th.

“It is an under-recognized, maybe underappreciated, sector of Indiana’s economy,” said Ryan Metzing, executive director of the Indiana Aerospace & Defense Council.

Aerospace, as defined by Metzing, is a broad industry comprised of companies that design, manufacture or service various types of aircraft. Aerospace technologies range from military to commercial use, developing drones, aircraft and satellites.

“Statewide, we’re seeing growth,” he said. “I think the commercial aerospace aviation sector is doing really well. That sector is projecting huge growth over the next 10 years or so.”

With aircraft orders lined up for the next decade, Metzing believes Indiana’s aerospace industry is poised for success.

“I think a lot of it has to do with some of the investment that had been going on here,” he added. “All of the deals over the past three or four years brought in more than $1 billion of investment in Indiana.”

Rolls-Royce and Alcoa, two of the state’s largest aerospace companies, made significant investments in 2015. Rolls-Royce dedicated $600 million for redevelopment at its Indianapolis location, while Alcoa doubled its capacity after starting construction on a new jet engine parts facility in La Porte.

Collectively, the companies employ almost 9,000 Hoosiers. Many of those, Metzing noted, are experienced manufacturers.

“Indiana has the strongest manufacturing workforce per capita in the nation – more than 17 percent,” he…

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