Virginia Snags Another Fortune 500 H.Q.

Raytheon Technologies manufactures components of the Boeing F/A-18 “Super Hornet” multi-mission strike fighter aircraft featured in “Top Gun: Maverick”

by James A. Bacon

Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Technologies has announced that it will establish its global headquarters in Arlington. Following the recent decision of The Boeing Company to relocate its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, the move cements Northern Virginia’s standing as the leading defense/aerospace cluster in the United States.

“The location increases agility in supporting U.S. government and commercial aerospace customers and serves to reinforce partnerships that will progress innovative technologies to advance the industry,” stated the company in a brief press release. “Washington, D.C. serves as a convenient travel hub for the company’s global customers and employees.”

The announcement was unusual for not emanating from the governor’s office, as would be typical with news of this magnitude. It contained no quotes from Governor Glenn Youngkin, Arlington officials, or Virginia’s economic development officials; no citation of the number of jobs created (if any); and no mention of how much the company will invest in making the transition. However, the press release did make a point of saying, “Raytheon Technologies has not accepted or sought any financial incentives from any state or municipality to support the establishment of the global headquarters office in Virginia.”

The global headquarters will be located in Arlington’s Rosslyn business district, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., alongside Raytheon’s existing intelligence and space business. Raytheon ranked 58th in the list of Fortune 500 companies.

Raytheon joins not only Boeing but General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman, both headquartered in Falls Church, among the large, integrated defense contractors located in Washington’s Virginia suburbs. Northern Virginia is also home to a host of smaller companies engaged in the defense and the related space, intelligence and homeland security sectors. Due to arcane federal procurement rules and heightened concerns about security, doing business with the Department of Defense and other agencies has engendered a unique business culture found nowhere else.

Unstated in the press release is that the move will put Raytheon’s top brass in close proximity to the Pentagon, NASA, various regulatory agencies and Congress, as well as a deep labor pool of consultants, technicians, IT specialists and others with defense-sector backgrounds and security clearances.

Fighter jets and other weapons platforms rely increasingly upon digital technologies to integrate the ability to detect threats, guide precision missiles,  and penetrate the enemy’s electronic counter-measures. More than ever, weapons systems are imbued with Artificial Intelligence to accelerate decision-making loops which allow drones, missiles and other weapons to operate autonomously.

Two examples from Raytheon’s website illustrate how much technology is embedded in weapons today:

The AN/ALR-67(V)3 digital radar warning receiver tells pilots when danger is near. It detects emitters in high-pulse density and intercepts faint, distant signals despite interference from strong nearby transmitters. Raytheon Intelligence & Space is developing scalable, all-digital variants.

The Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared, or ATFLIR, uses electro-optical sensors, infrared sensors and a powerful laser to locate and designate targets day and night, at ranges exceeding 40 nautical miles and altitudes surpassing 50,000 feet.

Military technology is “mission critical” in a way that commercial technology is not — lives depend upon it working correctly the first time, every time.

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11 responses to “Virginia Snags Another Fortune 500 H.Q.”

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        The put those posters up around the shipyard years ago, especially when Northrop Grumman (then a CA company) was still the parent. Doubt it changed many minds on the deck plate. What value virtue if it be not signaled?

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          can’t they just have psychologists to help these folks with these issues like was advocated in the prior blog post?


        2. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Changing minds is not the goal. Changing behavior is.

  1. Fred Costello Avatar
    Fred Costello

    It’s always profitable to have your company’s social circle include those who fund you.

  2. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    RatCo moves headquarters like most people change socks.

  3. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    So another win for Washington and Jefferson and the backroom deal that brought the capital to the Potomac! Plus whoever picked the Pentagon location on our side of the river.

    They probably kept it quiet to prevent Massachusetts from raising hell and trying to buy a different outcome. Big loss for that state.

    1. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

      I believe that part of NoVA was orig DC but at some point Virginia got the portion of DC west of the Potomac. One of the history buffs around here can refresh my memory.

      1. Crosswalks to Nowhere Avatar
        Crosswalks to Nowhere

        Arlington/Alexandria left DC in the early 1800s because they thought slavery was really cool and didn’t like the direction DC was headed. It’s interesting to see what the politics of VA and DC would be like if DC kept Arl and Alex

        Edit: “…direction DC was headed…”

    2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Who picked the location for the Pentagon? Well, Sec of War Henry Stimson convinced FDR to construct all under one roof building for the military brass. A pharmacist turned New Dealer from Roanoke, Clifton Woodrum, was able to steer congressional support for the Arlington location. The Pentagon was supposed to be at Arlington Farms. FDR nixed that idea. He was concerned that the view between Arlington Cemetery and the Capitol would be spoiled. FDR selected old Hoover Field. A new airport would be built and called National. Woodrum brought the airport and the VA to Roanoke. He despised the Byrd Machine and loved the song “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia”.

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