Not only is our region responsible for aeronautical breakthroughs

Our Aerospace Industry is Healthy and Thriving

For information on airports click here.


The Armstrong Flight Research Center is NASA’s primary center for atmospheric flight research and operations. NASA Armstrong is chartered to research and test advanced aeronautics, space and related technologies that are critical to carrying out the Agency’s missions of space exploration, space operations, scientific discovery, and aeronautical research and development.

Space Shuttle Endeavor arrives at Edwards AFB, CA aboard the NASA SCA on Sept. 19, 2012. U.S. Air Force Photo by Chris A. Neill

Space Shuttle Endeavor arrives at Edwards AFB, CA aboard the NASA SCA on Sept. 19, 2012. U.S. Air Force Photo by Chris A. Neill

Located at Edwards, California, in the western Mojave Desert, Armstrong is uniquely situated to take advantage of the excellent year-round flying weather, remote area and visibility to flight test some of the nation’s most unique aircraft and aeronautical systems, as well as conduct flight operations for a wide variety of airborne science missions.

This past year NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, helped advance the agency’s overall missions of aeronautics research, Earth and space science and aerospace technology. Established in 1946, Armstrong is NASA’s center of excellence for atmospheric flight research.

NASA Begins Flight Testing of Shape-Shifting Wings

2015 Milestones:

• In February, researchers used a technique called Air-to-air Background-Oriented Schlieren(AirBOS) to photograph a supersonic T-38 against a tumbleweed-studded desert backdrop using special cameras mounted on the underside of a subsonic King Air twin-prop aircraft. Researchers continue to refine techniques for capturing images of shock waves generated by supersonic airplanes using schlieren photography.

•In June, the observatory (a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 100-inch (2.5-meter) diameter telescope), was able to capture a special celestial event as Pluto passed directly between a distant star and the Earth on the morning of June 30, New Zealand time. This event, known as an “occultation,” caused a faint shadow of Pluto to move across the surface of Earth at more than 53,000 mph, creating a ripe opportunity for the SOFIA team to perform scientific analysis of the dwarf planet’s atmosphere.

• In September, five educators participating in the ambassador program boldly went where no ambassadors had gone before – into the stratosphere with Nichelle Nichols, actress, cultural icon, and science advocate. Playing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, the first major African American female role on TV, Nichols used her role to touch the lives of many people, a responsibility she carried out with purpose by recruiting women and underserved candidates for NASA and science careers. Nichols continued this commitment as she flew on SOFIA, and promoted the program by hosting a live Twitter chat from onboard the plane.

• Armstrong is the host center for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System project, one of the nation’s most important research efforts for improving safety and reducing technical barriers and operational challenges associated with flying unmanned aircraft in airspace shared by commercial and civil air traffic. The third phase of flight-testing was completed this year. Equipped with a prototype system of DAA sensors working in concert with airborne and ground-based computers, Armstrong’s Ikhana UAS made 11 flights involving more than 200 scripted encounters with approaching aircraft.

BOEING COMPANY - Greater Antelope Valley

Boeing KC-46, replacement Tanker for US Air Force.

Boeing KC-46, replacement Tanker for US Air Force.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and

defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing employs more than 160,000 people across the United States and in 65 countries. Total company revenues for 2015 were a record $96.1 billion.

In the Antelope Valley, Boeing conducts ground and flight testing of both military and commercial products. On-going flight test programs for the US Air Force include the C-17 airlifter, B-1 and B-52 bombers, and F-22 fighter on Edwards AFB. At Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, the Company currently is conducting the flight test program for the F-15SA, the most modern variant of the F-15 fighter being produced for Saudi Arabia as part of the largest Foreign Military Sales program in US history. Boeing enjoys a long-standing partnership with NASA in the AV performing aeronautical research.

The Phantom Eye hydrogen-powered HALE (high altitude, long endurance) aircraft wrapped up its test program at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, with the unique demonstrator aircraft donated to the Air Force Flight Museum for future

public display. The Company also supports flight testing of the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet models and EA-18G Growler as well as other Navy airframes and weapons systems at NAWS China Lake.

In 2016, the Company’s centennial anniversary year, Boeing had been integral in testing visiting programs and airframes in the region. Included are the KC-46 Pegasus; and the US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon ASW (anti-submarine warfare) aircraft. In 2017, Boeing launches into the next 100 years with the arrival of the

KC-46 at Edwards AFB for flight test; initial testing of the 737 Max; latest model of the Dreamliner, 787-10; and the return of both the P-8A and Italian KC-767 NATO aerial refueling tanker.

For additional information about The Boeing Company, please visit:

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 126,000 people worldwide and more than 3,000 people locally. The Antelope Valley location is home to the iconic Skunk Works® known for solutions that push the state of the art in support of the nation’s most pressing needs. Working advanced development projects, the Skunk Works team is focused on rapid prototyping, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of manned and unmanned aircraft systems. Employees are very active in the community with emphasis working to inspire students to pursue careers in the technology arena and in support of military and veterans causes.

Lockheed Martin is proud of its more than 100-year partnership with the good people of the state of California.


B-2 Spirit Bomber

B-2 Spirit Bomber

Northrop Grumman is one of the largest private aerospace employers in the Antelope Valley. Northrop Grumman Aircraft Integration Center or Excellence is celebrating its third anniversary with record milestones in 2015. The Palmdale Center of Excellence provides the opportunity to continue its efforts of being a dedicated community partner. The site provides assembly, integration, testing and long-term maintenance capabilities for some of the world’s most advanced aircraft systems including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-2 Spirit bomber, and the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft. More than 125 job openings currently exist in Palmdale, so we are hiring.

Northrop Grumman mechanic uses FILLS light projected work instructions to speed the assembly of an F-35 center fuselage.

Northrop Grumman mechanic uses FILLS light projected work instructions to speed the assembly of an F-35 center fuselage.

2015 Milestones:

• Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered on a commitment to the U.S. Air Force to increase the availability of the B-2 stealth bomber fleet by completing a periodic “wingtip-to-wingtip” overhaul of the jet in a record 359 days achieving $900 million overall cost savings.

• Unveiling and first take off of NATO’s first Alliance Ground Surveillance Aircraft in Palmdale.

• Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy successfully demonstrated fully autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) with the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft, marking the first time in history that an unmanned aircraft has refueled in-flight.

• Northrop Grumman delivered the first center fuselage for Israeli and Japanese F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft designated AX-1.

• U.S. Zero Waste Business Council awarded the silver Zero Waste Certification to Northrop Grumman, making the corporation the FIRST large manufacturing and aerospace company to achieve zero waste.

• Received the “Good Corporate Citizen” recognition from the City of Palmdale and Los Angeles County Sanitation District

• Northrop Grumman is committed to giving back to our local community and raised more than $110,000 for local charities to help seniors, veterans and schools.

• Northrop Grumman Corporation ranked 35th on DiversityInc’s annual list for the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. The company remained the top rated aerospace and defense company in the overall rankings and was ranked number one in the support to veteran’s specialty list.

Edwards Air Force Base
Air Force Flight Test Center:


Quick Facts
Military Personnel   
(Active, reserves/national guard, etc)
Civilian Personnel   7,109
Family Members 2,104
Total Personnel 11,457
Military Pay $118,984,039
Civilian Pay $401,125,287
Total Payroll $520,109,326
Estimated indirect jobs created locally 11,453
Average Annual Pay $58,015
Total Payroll $653,703,280
Contract Expenditures $304,289,876
Estimated Total Value of Jobs Created $665,445,795
Combined Economic Impact:
*As reported in the 2014 Economic Impact Analysis


The 412th Test Wing is the host wing for Edwards Air Force Base. Edwards AFB is 308,000-acres, or 481-square miles in area, in Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. The Test Wing plans, conducts, analyzes and reports on all flight and ground testing of aircraft, weapon systems, software and components, as well as modeling and simulation for the Air Force. The Wing has three core flight test mission components: flying operations, maintenance and engineering. Edwards AFB is also the home of the Air Force Test Pilot School. The Wing also oversees the base’s day-to-day operations and provides support for more than 9,700 military, federal civilian and contract personnel. Major tenants include NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, and Air Force Research Laboratory’s Aerospace Systems Directorate.

2015 Milestones:

Significant milestones for the 412 TW in FY15 included execution of successful test programs for major weapons systems including; the F-35, KC-46, F-22, C-17, B-1, B-2, B-52, KC-135, Global Hawk UAV, support for Foreign Military Service programs for the F-16 and F-15 Saudi Arabia, and preparation for future test missions facilitated by completion of the F-16 Consolidation, and F-22 Relocation contract.


NAWS China Lake installation is the Navy’s largest single landholding, representing 85 percent of the Navy’s land for RDAT&E use and 38 percent of the Navy’s land holdings worldwide. In total, its two ranges and main site cover more than 1.1 million acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

The roughly $3 billion infrastructure of the installation is comprised of 2,132 buildings and facilities, 329 miles of paved roads and 1,801 miles of unpaved roads. The 19,600 square miles of restricted and controlled airspace at China Lake makes up 12 percent of California’s total airspace and provides an unprecedented venue for integrated testing and training of today’s war-fighter.

The workforce at China Lake is a mixture of military, civilians and contractors that are employed across multiple tenant commands. There are approximately 694 active duty military, 4,471 civilian employees and 1,850 contractors’ employees that work at the installation.