Seven U.S. military installations surround the region, providing a stabilizing economic influence on the local economy. Bay County is home to Naval Support Activity Panama City, Tyndall Air Force Base and U.S. Coast Guard Station Panama City. Eglin Air Force Base, the largest base in the U.S. Air Force, and other naval and aviation-related installations are in close proximity, creating one of the nation’s largest military base footprints.
Bay County’s military bases also serve as a catalyst for attracting a strong cluster of research activity, defense contractors and aviation and aerospace-related companies and suppliers. Nearly every nationally-recognized defense contractor, approximately 60 companies, has a presence in Bay County.
Gulf of Mexico Range Complex
The strategic location of the region provides air space access over both land and water. The Gulf of Mexico surrounds the Northwest Florida coast is a surrogate environment for the Persian Gulf and other littoral regions and is not hampered by Federal Aviation Administration policies. The military uses portions of it, known as the Joint Gulf Test Range Complex, for cutting-edge testing of air-to-air missile firing missions and autonomous vehicle technology. The range represents an essential combination of air, land and sea space that provides realistic training areas for air, surface and submarine units.
- Climate: Temperate to Subtropical
- Wide Coastal Shelf: 60 Miles to 600 Ft – 150 Miles to 6,000 Ft
- Water Temperature: Summer - 83°F; Winter - 59°F
- Good Underwater Visibility
- Soft Mud & Limestone Bottom Conditions
- Sea Condition: Summer – Less than 3 Ft, 80% of time; Winter – Less than 3 Ft, 50% of time
- Open Oceans, Bays, Estuaries, Rivers & Harbors Near Eglin AFB and Tyndall AFB
Naval Support Activity Panama City
Naval Support Activity Panama City (NSA PC), located along St. Andrew Bay, provides research and development and in-service support for expeditionary, amphibious warfare, diving maritime special operations and mine warfare. There are several unique centers located on base. Panama City is the National Center of Expertise for all military diving through the operation of the Navy Experimental Diving Unit, the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center and the Center for Navy Ordnance Disposal and Diving, all located at NSA PC.
The diversity of test environment, low encroachment and mission area synergy make NSA PC an ideal location and climate for development, test and training in littoral warfare missions. Beach contours and water depths replicate more than 80 percent of the world’s littoral regions and offer a surrogate Persian Gulf environment.
- $498 Million Annual Economic Impact
- 2,872 Military & Civilian Labor Force
- Encompasses 657 Acres & 234 Buildings
- Tenant to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division
- The Single Site for Navy Diving
Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division
The largest tenant of the NSA PC is the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD). It is one of the major research, development, test and evaluation laboratories of the Navy, boasting a wide base of expertise in engineering and scientific disciplines in the mission areas of mine warfare, expeditionary warfare, special warfare and diving and life support.
- $273 Million Annual Economic Impact
- 2,290 Military & Civilian Labor Force
- 862 Scientists & Engineers
- 381 with Advanced Degrees; 317 Masters, 64 PhDs
- Occupies 74 Buildings and 650+ acres
Tyndall Air Force Base
Tyndall Air Force Base, located on the southeastern part of the county, is one of the largest Air Education and Training Command bases and the home of air dominance training. It houses the 325th Fighter Wing which provides training for the F-22 Raptor fighter pilots, maintenance personnel, air battle managers, intelligence officers, crew chiefs and air traffic controllers. Also at the base is the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group which conducts the Air Force’s air-to-air and air-to-ground Weapon System Evaluation Programs.
- $614.2 Million Annual Economic Impact
- 6,471 Military & Civilian Labor Force
- 9,250 Retirees
- Encompasses more than 29,000 acres
- Tenant to the Air Force Research Laboratory