Seven of the world’s top-10 defense-related firms have a major presence in the Virginia Beach MSA, supporting the largest active-duty military population in the country.

The Virginia Beach MSA is home to the largest active-duty military population in the U.S., as well as 9 major military installations representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.  In addition, the only permanent NATO Headquarters outside of Europe is located in the MSA, as are the world’s lar​​gest naval base, the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, headquarters for the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, the major operating base for U.S. expeditionary forces, the U.S. Navy’s headquarters for computer network command & control, and major commands for both the Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Private industry support for the area’s defense operations plays a major role in the regional economy, creating thousands of jobs and leading significant innovations in new technologies for both military and private sector applications. Seven of the world’s top-10 defense-related firms have a major presence in the Virginia Beach MSA, as well as two major federal R&D facilities (NASA Langley Research Center and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility) responsible for developing new technologies in the fields of materials, sensors, aviation safety, and nuclear science.

For more information on the bases and armed forces in the area, visit the military page.

Export Opportunities for Virginia's Defense Industry

As the U.S. Federal Government cuts back on defense spending, there are significant opportunities for Virginia’s defense companies to grow sales abroad. VEDP-International Trade has released a defense export guide to assist Virginia’s defense companies in taking advantage of these opportunities to grow sales through exports. This guide introduces new exporters to the processes, considerations, and strategies for making defense sales abroad. Learn more about these export opportunities.​

Major Defense Companies in Virginia Beach

Engility Corporation800
Allied Technology Group Inc.515
Lockheed Martin Corporation510
ADS Tactical Inc.420
J.K. Hill & Associates Inc.​350​
​Valkyrie Enterprises, LLC​​293
Northrop Grumman200

Key Positions - Average Annual Salaries

PositionVirginia Beach MSA​United States
General and Operations Managers$124,190$123,880
Mechanical Engineers$85,890$92,800
Computer Hardware Engineers$106,560$117,840
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  MSAUSA  May 2018  (Latest Data)​

Business Spotlight

Valkyrie Enterprises, LLC, ​a Veteran-Owned Small Business headquartered in Virginia Beach, was founded in 2007 to provide system engineering, engineering design, in-service engineering, technical services, training, maintenance planning and assessment for the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense agencies. Its customer base includes U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Naval Network Warfare Command, Navy Cyber Forces, Board of Inspection and Survey and many others. Valkyrie Enterprises, LLC is one more example of how locally-grown companies are achieving incredible success from Virginia Beach. The company has been included on many of the fastest growing companies list and was most recently awarded an $11.4 million with options up to $57.2 million contract with the Department of Defense. 

 Defense Industry Quick Facts

  • Active-duty military in Hampton Roads: 86,000 (Source: 2016 ​Hampton Roads Statistical Digest)
  • Number of veterans in Hampton Roads: 213,926 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Veterans status for the popul​ation 18 years and over: 4.6 percent (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • An average of 12,000 active-duty military personnel annually exit the military in Hampton Roads
  • Department of Defense (DoD) Federal Civilians: 43,600 (Source: HRPDC)
  • 36 percent of Hampton Roads employment was either directly employed by or supported through DoD (Source: HRPDC)​


​The Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance

The Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA) is an initiative of the Hampton Roads Mayors and Chairs Caucus. Its mission is to attract, retain and grow military and federal facilities across the region for the common good and welfare of the residents of the region. 

NASA Wallops Flight Facility​

Wallops Flight Facility, located nearby on Virginia's Eastern Shore, was established in 1945 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics as a center for aeronautic research. Today, Wallops is NASA's principal facility for management and implementation of suborbital research programs. In addition, this asset is a leader among test sites in the development of unmanned aerial systems.