Boeing has announced a future Illinois-based facility that, upon completion in 2024, will house the production of carrier-based unmanned aircraft systems for the U.S. Navy.
The company said Friday the 300,000-square-foot facility within the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport will implement robotic automation, advanced assembly approaches and other manufacturing processes and tools to produce the MQ-25 Stingray UAS, which was digitally engineered.
The facility will initially employ a workforce of 150 engineers, mechanics and support personnel for Stingray’s production. The number may expand to 300 people as more orders come in.
MidAmerica has served as the MQ-25 aircraft’s testing ground over the past two years.
Boeing is now producing the first seven of over 70 Stingray units the Navy plans to purchase. The company will also deliver a pair of ground test articles to MidAmerica.
“My administration is committed to making continued investments that will modernize our airports, spark new innovation and bring jobs and economic opportunities to our communities from Chicago to St. Clair and beyond,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement regarding Boeing’s $200 million investment over a 15-year period.
The MQ-25 factory complements Boeing’s St. Clair-based manufacturing operations for other aircraft including the F/A-18 Super Hornet jet and the CH-47 Chinook helicopter.