The move comes after the service added to its latest $7.8B budget request the procurement of up to 80 F-15 aircraft in the early 2020s.
The service has yet to secure approval from Congress for the budget but Boeing officials said the company is already preparing for the aircraft’s production, which may employ up to 1,100 people.
“The biggest ask from our customer, the Air Force, is rapid field deployment,” said Prat Kumar, a vice president and program manager of F-15 programs at Boeing. “Unless we kind of invest ahead of the opportunity, we won’t be in a position to respond to that. As you can see we are putting an effort into getting ready.”
The company recently gathered engineers and manufacturing experts at its St. Louis facility to discuss new and most efficient ways to assemble the fighter jets.
It has been 15 years since Boeing built the last F-15 for the Air Force at the production plant. The facility currently manufactures fighter aircraft for Singapore, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.