Defense & Shipbuilding

Mississippi is a major producer in the defense and shipbuilding industry. Facilities like Huntington-Ingalls Industries shipyard, which has been in Mississippi since 1938, have developed and expanded this industry in the state. Now, companies make everything from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Columbus to naval and commercial ships in Pascagoula.

Here’s a partial list of defense operations in Mississippi:

  • Huntington-Ingalls builds naval and commercial ships on the Gulf Coast
  • Stark Aerospace produces UAVs and services electro-optic parts for certain UAV models in Columbus
  • General Atomics builds and tests electromagnetic launch systems used on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers at its Tupelo facility
  • American Eurocopter builds the Lakota helicopter for the U.S. Army in its Columbus plant
  • Talley Defense Systems assembles shoulder-launched, multipurpose assault weapons in its Columbus facility
  • Navistar Defense enhances mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles in West Point


Mississippi provides support to these companies through research and training programs from universities:

  • The Mississippi Polymer Institute and researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi collaborate with Mississippi shipbuilders, along with GE Aviation, to develop composite manufacturing materials.
  • Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering offers undergraduate and advanced degrees to meet the needs of this important industry.

Read more about how Mississippi’s research universities support state businesses here.

Read the success story of Aurora Flight Science, a defense business, here.