Aerospace & Defence



Dynamic aerospace & defence industry

Given Halifax's unique location as a gateway to other parts of the world,  Halifax has a strong history in the aerospace and defence industry. In the 18th century, the city of Halifax served as a principal naval station in the British Empire, and was of great importance to Canada's development and evolution from colony to nation.

Today, aerospace and defence in our region is as strong as ever. As a $1.6 billion industry, a number of world-class aerospace and defence companies are located in our region. These companies are backed by a highly skilled workforce and excellent support services, which allows them to compete nationally and internationally.


Why choose Halifax?

  • Nova Scotia’s commercial aerospace and defence sector – primarily located in Halifax – employs 6,000 people and generates more than $600 million in revenues each year.
  • The Largest Concentration of Department of National Defence Assets in Canada. Nova Scotia is home to 40% of Department of National Defence’s (DND) assets, and Halifax alone employs more than 10,000 DND and Canadian Forces personnel. The city is the base for the East Coast Navy. Nearby Canadian Forces Base Greenwood is the largest air force base east of Trenton, Ontario. Some of the city’s key DND assets include:
  1. Canadian Fleet Atlantic, which comprises of 7 Halifax-class frigates, 2 Iroquois-class destroyers (area air defence destroyers and fleet flag ships), 1 Operational support ship, 5 Kingston-class vessels (coastal defence and training vessels) and 3 Victoria-class submarines;
  2. Maritime Forces Atlantic Headquarters, one of three primary formations of the Canadian Navy and the largest naval presence in Canada;
  3. 12 Wing Shearwater, which supports and operates ship-borne helicopters for the Canadian Forces Maritime Command;
  4. Land Force Atlantic Area Headquarters, which is responsible for most Army Regular and Reserve Force elements in the four Atlantic Provinces;
  5. Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot Bedford (CFAD Bedford), which houses all of the weaponry for East Coast navy vessels and has a loading jetty and several nearby anchorages;
  6. Joint Ocean Surveillance Information Centre (JOSIC), which maintains Maritime Forces Atlantic communications with vessels and other Canadian Forces and allied units;
  7. CF Naval Engineering School (CFNES) and CF Naval Operations School (CFNOS);
  8. Acoustic Data Analysis Centre Atlantic (ADAC Atlantic), the recognized expert in acoustic analysis and training in Canada;
  9. Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard, which contains berths for Canadian and foreign warships, Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott, and shore-based training facilities, as well as operations buildings for Maritime Forces Atlantic; and,
  10. Cape Scott Fleet Maintenance Facility (FMFCS), the East Coast Canadian Naval Repair facility.
  • The local industry is intimately tied to Canadian military procurement, and is undertaking large-scale Department of National Defence projects, including the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy,Maritime Helicopter Program, the Halifax Class modernization/Frigate Life Extension Project, and the Aurora Structural Life Extension Program.
  • Halifax is Canada’s smart city. Halifax has among the highest ratios of educational facilities to population in North America, with six universities offering a multitude of undergraduate and graduate programs. More than 30,000 students are enrolled at these universities every year, while some 6,550 earn degrees and certificates. This is in addition to the 10,688 students across Nova Scotia who attend the Nova Scotia Community College, as well as students graduating from universities in nearby provinces.
  • Halifax offers more competitive business costs compared to other cities:


  1. CAE, a global leader in flight simulation;
  2. Altantis Systems Corp., providers of comprehensive simulation-based training systems for commercial and military aircraft;
  3. newly-arrived Longtail Studios, a developer of character-driven games for Ubisoft;
  4. Silverback Productions, a flash and 3-D games developer whose clients include Nickelodeon, Hasboro and MTV; and
  5. the Brain Repair Centre and the National Research Council’s Institute of Biodiagnostics – key innovators in health-related visualization and simulation.


  1. ACOA's Atlantic Innovation Fund
  2. ACOA's Business Development Program (BDP)
  3. NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)

  4. The Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program

  5. Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP)

Notable Aerospace and Defence Companies in Halifax

  1. Irving Shipbuilding
  2. Atlantis Systems Corp. 
  3. Lockheed Martin Canada
  4. L-3 Electronic Systems
  5. Pratt & Whitney Canada Inc
  6. General Dynamics
  7. IMP Group International Inc
  8. CAE Professional Services
  9. Raytheon
  10. Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems
  11. EADS Composites Atlantic
  12. MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates

Industry Voices

“Nova Scotia is a tremendous place to do business. First and foremost, it has a workforce that is not only highly skilled, but also highly motivated to support the men and women of the Navy and the work they do on behalf of Canadians. For Lockheed Martin Canada, an expansion in Halifax simply makes sense."

Tom Digan, President
Lockheed Martin Canada

“With its skilled workforce, business friendly environment, competitive costs, and advantageous geographical location, Nova Scotia has been a corner-stone of our Canadian operations for many years and will continue to an important part of our growth strategy.”

Richard D. Ackerman, VP – Business Development
L-3 Electronic Systems