TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Raytheon is expanding its operations in southern Arizona by adding nearly 2,000 jobs.
The jobs will be added to the Missile Systems business headquarters over a five-year period, according to a press release.
Raytheon will be hiring workers at all skill levels, with an emphasis in "engineering and other higher-wage, technical positions."
This move is expected to result in billions of dollars of economic impact for Arizona over 10 years.
"These rewarding, high technology jobs will support Raytheon's growth and bring even more top talent to this region," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president in the press release. "The strong support we receive from state and local organizations is essential to our expansion plans, and will help provide Raytheon with the workforce and infrastructure to meet the growing demand we are seeing from our customers."
President and CEO of Raytheon Tucson Taylor Lawrence agrees it was the announcement in 2006 that Raytheon was expanding to Huntsville, AL, that served as a wake-up call to southern Arizona leaders, and the ensuing actions of the city, county and state that led to Friday's announcement.
Lawrence says the county's decision to provide a half-mile buffer zone paved the way for this expansion. It will give Raytheon the space it needs to test new weapons systems including larger missiles.
In a conference call to reporters, both Lawrence and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey praised the expansion and what it brings to Southern Arizona.
"Just more proof that Southern Arizona's economy is on fire," said Ducey.
The Governor's office detailed several of the expansion projects which have added thousands of new jobs to the Tucson metro area.
Home Goods new distribution center added nearly1,200 jobs. The Comcast regional service center added another 1,500. Caterpillar, a Fortune 500 company will bring another 600 high paying jobs. And with Raytheon's five year expansion plans, another 2,000.
But Lawrence does not believe it ends there but will help to create a tech industry and environment nurturing the budding Aerospace, Defense & Technology Research and Business Park.
"This was a critical first step," Lawrence said adding that he thought the expansion will encourage others, including Raytheon suppliers, to move into the park.
Asked about the incentive package which helped the Raytheon decision, neither Lawrence nor Governor Ducey would elaborate.
But Lawrence acknowledged that other states were in the competition for the expansion and Arizona offered a good package.
"Our products are in high demand and we're responding to the high demand of our customers from around the world," Lawrence said. "Our business in driven by threats in the world."
Raytheon is home to 20 franchise missile systems but it also exploring new technologies such as 3-D imaging and next generation of missiles which fly at hyper sonic speeds.
Ducey sees a bright future for Southern Arizona in the Aerospace and Defense industry.
"We can sit at the table with any company and any CEO and compete." he said. "Tucson is attractive and can win in this game."
For more details on the impact of the decision, click HERE: http://bit.ly/2fbTeGb
Tucson News Now's Bud Foster is following this story.
Keep checking back with Tucson News Now for updates.