Boeing moves forward with advanced combat aircraft site in Missouri

ASIM, jul 02

Boeing is advancing its combat aircraft expansion project near its Berkeley complex, despite recent comments from military officials that have introduced new uncertainties into an Air Force program the company is reportedly targeting. Steve Nordlund, senior site executive for Boeing St. Louis, announced Wednesday that the company is heavily investing in the development of fighter jets, satellites, and future products. A new building, referred to as an “advanced combat aircraft” site, is part of this expansion and is expected to be completed in 2026. This 1.1 million square-foot facility will nearly double Boeing’s manufacturing footprint in the area, marking a significant milestone for the St. Louis site. The $1.8 billion expansion is set to become one of the largest defense projects in the region’s history, with the county council approving around $155 million in tax breaks for the project last September.

In addition to the expansion, Boeing opened a specialized lab and testing facility last year and plans to open an advanced post-assembly site in the second quarter of 2025. Despite showing reporters the expansion sites, Nordlund couldn’t comment on specific programs the new facilities might support, emphasizing that the expansion is intended for “new aerospace programs” rather than relying on a single contract. The expansion announcement coincided with the Air Force’s ongoing competition for the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter jet, with a contract expected to be awarded in 2024. While Nordlund could not confirm Boeing’s involvement in the NGAD competition, trade publications suggest Boeing is up against Lockheed Martin. Recent statements from Air Force officials have indicated potential budget challenges, casting doubt on the program’s future. Despite the secrecy surrounding NGAD, defense analysts find it difficult to gauge the implications of these remarks for Boeing’s future business plans. Amid these developments, Boeing continues to make significant strides in its St. Louis operations, including preparations for the T-7 trainer plane and the relocation of MQ-25 refueling drone production to a new facility in Illinois. With growing orders for fighter jets, Boeing recently hired about 100 people for its F-15 manufacturing line, planning to increase production from 16 jets this year to 24 by 2026. Additionally, a $1.3 billion contract from the U.S. Navy for 17 new F/A-18s has extended the life of the St. Louis County manufacturing line into 2027.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *