Utah Aerospace and Defense Association has announced a rebrand that honors the industry's pioneers in Utah and focuses on the organization's expanding vision.

The Utah Aerospace and Defense Association hosted a celebration Thursday night when it unveiled the organization's new name: 47G.

The association's president, Aaron Starks, spoke of the Spaceport Committee, which was a group that proposed a NASA facility to be built in Utah in 1971, but was ultimately beat out by Florida.

Starks said throughout Utah's aerospace history, "Our legacy of ambition never changed. ... Their legacy is our inspiration."

Starks said the name 47G pays tribute to the pioneers who settled Utah in 1847 and the "test pilots who shattered the barriers of speed." He specifically mentioned John Stapp, who is known as "the fastest man on earth" because he reached 46.2 g while riding a rocket-propelled sled at 632 mph.

"The reason we are here tonight, is to recognize the legacy of those before us while unveiling a new name for our organization and vision for this critical industry," Starks said. "Our name represents the rich legacy of Utah's pioneers and the unquenchable ambition that propels us into the future, going where no human has ever gone before — 47 g," Starks said.

The organization will focus on "going to new heights" by developing cyber, defense and aerospace technologies. He said the organization is providing 5,000 aerospace defense jobs and he aims to double the amount of defense spending in the state from $6 billion to $12 billion.

"This is the most sustainable industry in the state of Utah," he said. "From a national security perspective, this is the most important industry."

Gov. Spencer Cox gave an impassioned speech about the importance of people collaborating together to innovate.

"I'm so proud of this industry and the work that is happening here. You are putting Utah on the map in ways that we have not been on the map before. You are building on the shoulders of giants, as we have heard," Cox said.

Cox said he is grateful the aerospace industry gives "really good jobs to really good people" because it is raising the standard of living in Utah.

The governor talked about how "our world is kinda screwed up right now" and the U.S. is not seen as strong anymore.

"We need a strong America. The world needs a strong America," Cox said. "I'm telling you we've always been a weird state, we're weirder now than ever, and our country needs some Utah weird right now."

By coming together, "you can all win. You can all do better" because working together brings abundance, not scarcity, Cox said.

The governor said he is proud of the organization for what it represents and that it reminds people they can still come together to create things that are bigger than any one company or person.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams also said Utahns are great at collaborating.

"I believe the next war will not be won by tanks or bullets. It'll be won by technical weapons system which we will develop in Utah," Adams said. "We will never let evil prevail and we will fight back. That's what America does and that's what Utah does."

University of Utah President Taylor Randall announced the formation of the Utah Network for Integrated Computing and Semiconductor Research and Education and a $100 million investment into artificial intelligence research and development.

Universities and colleges across the state will work with major technology and aerospace companies to research and develop semiconductors. Randall said the U.S. creating its own technology is important for national security instead of depending on foreign countries such as China.

"It's a rather remarkable endeavor that will put Utah at the forefront of semiconductor development in the United States," Randall said.

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The $100 million investment will be used over the next seven to 10 years in developing foundational AI and translational AI technologies.

"The goal of that investment, again, is to take development of semiconductor technology and put it into practice to put Utah at the complete forefront of industries that will be built on semiconductors and the applications that will come out of artificial intelligence," Randall said.

Chris Stewart, chairman of Utah Aerospace and Defense, said the fundamental responsibility of the federal government is to protect American lives.

"We are the glue that holds the world together. And one of the most important parts of that is the ability to defend not only ourselves, but defend those who need defense when it's appropriate to do that," Stewart said.

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