Oklahoma open for Aussie defence businesses

Taking the Australian defence industry to Oklahoma

Known as the Sooner State, Oklahoma may also be known as the defence and aerospace state of the US if Vince Howie has anything to say about it.

The aerospace and defense director for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce told Defence Connect the state has ample opportunity for businesses hoping to be more competitive in the defence and aerospace industry.

"If you look at the United States, right down the very centre is a road called Interstate 35 and it's known as the I-35 corridor, that's the fastest growing area in the United States," said Howie.

"Businesses can come to Oklahoma and be much, much more competitive."

Howie said his recent visit to Australia during the Avalon Airshow was calculated, with the intention of opening the door to Oklahama to Australian defence companies.

"My whole plan here is to come visit with companies and show them the advantages that Oklahoma has, and all I want them to do is just consider us and give us a look when they're considering putting a presence into the United States," he said.

Howie's inspiration for the visit down under came from working with Queensland engineering company Ferra, which has been a supplier to aeronautical giants Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

"We have one of Australia's premier companies, Ferra, [which] has opened their North American showroom in Grove, Oklahoma, and because of that partnership that we have with Ferra, it just made me realise how many companies that Australia has."

Howie said the visit has been successful, with some Australian companies now considering a trip to Oklahoma due to the economic prosperity the state has to offer.

"I have visited multiple companies [during the airshow] and I have a commitment from six of them that are going to come to the US and will come visit Oklahoma," he said.

"In fact, many of them are changing their plans to visit Oklahoma because they didn't realise how much aerospace we have in the state.

"We just finished up our aerospace economic impact on the state. To my surprise, we have about 1,275 businesses in aerospace in the state of Oklahoma. We employ around 120,000 people in the aerospace industry. It's big business for us."

 

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