Industry: Aerospace & Defense
Facility Function: Research and Development
Location: Central Florida Research Park
Orlando Employees: 350
Square Footage: 88,000
Year Founded in Orlando Region: 1994
Pioneering aerospace company Northrop Grumman recently opened its new 88,000 square- foot office space at 2300 Discovery Drive in Central Florida Research Park in 2021. Northrop Grumman’s facility operates within the company’s Defense Systems business sector, primarily working on military satellites and C4I, a field that consists of command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems. The expansion consolidates several Northrop Grumman facilities into one site operation and will ease collaboration among 350 employees. The building can accommodate up to 1,500 additional employees.
- Northrop Grumman houses its current 350 Orlando-based employees in Central Florida Research Park, the sixth largest research park in the U.S., close to the University of Central Florida (UCF).
- The company’s new facility, which opened in June 2021, has the capacity to accommodate up to 1,500 new employees.
- Northrop Grumman’s Orlando facility primarily works on military satellites and C4I, which was dubbed the “nervous system” of the Military by the federal government’s National Research Council.
- The company’s operations in Central Florida Research Park support the U.S. Military with situational awareness, knowledge of the adversary and environment, and shorten time frames between sensing and response.
Northrop Grumman’s history in the Orlando region dates back to 1965, when the Grumman Company, an aviation firm that supplied planes for the U.S. Military, brought its technology and innovation to Brevard County to work on the Apollo project. Since then, the company has remained in the region, specifically to further its Defense Systems division with the goal of expanding global and commercial presence. The company’s innovation and leadership in defense technology contributes to its major employment of Orlando’s STEM talent supply – over 15,200 engineering degrees were awarded in the Orlando region between 2015 and 2020 (JobsEQ). About 4,000 people are employed with Northrop Grumman between Central Florida and the Space Coast, with high paying wages ranging from $83,180 to $147,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Orlando has given Northrop Grumman a competitive advantage in acquiring office space for expansions. Metro Orlando has an average asking class A office space rent 31 percent lower than the national average: 42, 35 and 10 percent lower than Los Angeles, Seattle and Dallas, respectively (US Office MarketBeat, Q3 2021). This affordable cost of doing business combined with access to significant STEM talent from nearby UCF has made Central Florida Research Park a local hub for innovation in aerospace and adjacent industries, comprising of tenants including Luminar, Leidos Inc., and Raytheon Technologies. Proximity to UCF, one of the nation’s most innovative universities, gives companies a competitive edge for employing young professionals in tech-focused programs. UCF has awarded over 6,400 engineering degrees in recent years – about 840 of which were aerospace, aeronautical or astronautical engineering related degrees (JobsEQ, 2015-2020).
Northrop Grumman’s newly opened facility in Research Park will bring collaboration in its Defense Systems division, specifically military satellites and their C4I field (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence). These operations support the U.S. Military with situational awareness, knowledge of the adversary and environment, and shorten time frames between sensing and response. Orlando’s strong U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps presence paired with Northrop Grumman’s new office provide close proximity for further collaborations. And with the region’s aviation, defense and air transportation industry forecasted to grow 5.5 percent over the next five years, Northrop Grumman will be set to escalate its influence in Orlando (JobsEQ, Q2 2021).
The growing shift from a government sector to a commercial private sector has broadened the market for aerospace and defense suppliers like Northrop Grumman. The company has experienced persistent growth despite the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing revenue 8.94 percent year over year from 2020 to 2021, and shows no signs of slowing down (Macro Trends). The company’s expanding presence in Orlando will not only add to the almost 30,000 aerospace, aviation and defense industry employees here, but also flood the region with innovation and leadership, creating positive spillovers for Orlando’s emerging modeling, simulation, training and tech industries (JobsEQ, Q2 2021).
Northrop Grumman has been known to build partnerships that support the betterment of local communities. The company has initiatives in place that support the Military and veterans, demonstrated by the roughly 25 percent of its employees that self-identify as veterans or active reservists. The company is a proponent of K-12 STEM education, health and human services, and environmental sustainability.
Partnerships and Collaboration:
Northrop Grumman’s Defense Division has established partnerships with the U.S. Military and NASA, as well as academia and other commercial defense suppliers. The company currently holds a contract with NASA to launch unmanned cargo via its Cygnus spacecraft as part of the Commercial Resupply Program, which delivers scientific investigations, supplies and cargo to the International Space Station. Offices in all 50 states, 23 countries and over 21,000 employees provide a foundation for supplying technologies to a global customer base engaged in the front lines of security, modernization, sustainment and mission-focused activities.
The Final Word
Orlando and Orange County is an attractive place to do business in.”Northrop Grumman Defense Systems President Mary Petryszyn, as quoted in the Orlando Business Journal