Expanding Rhode Island's Defense Industry

May 9, 2013

A state commission formed to preserve and expand defense-related businesses in Rhode Island holds its latest meeting Thursday.

The Defense Economy Planning Commission was created in 2010. The 25-member panel includes state legislators, as well as representatives of private businesses, the National Guard, chambers of commerce, and branches of state government.

The commission will get a bit of a show and tell. Lockheed Martin plans to use a cockpit simulator to show commission members what it’s like to fly an F-35 fighter jet. Presentations are also slated on the state of Rhode Island’s defense sector, which is concentrated on Aquidneck Island and at Quonset Point.

The state Economic Development Corporation says Rhode Island’s defense sector consists of more than 100 companies, employing 16-thousand people. The EDC says the sector generated almost 2 billion dollars in revenue in 2008.