ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Boeing announced Monday plans to manufacture new Air Force TX training jets in St. Louis, provided the military branch chooses Boeing for the project.
The contract would bring 1,800 direct and indirect jobs to the St. Louis area.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and Senator Claire McCaskill were at the announcement to help break the good news.
"It's a fantastic project and incredible opportunity, not just for Missouri, but for the country to have Boeing win this. It's a really important project,” Greitens said.
The plane, built by Boeing and Saab, had a successful test flight in St. Louis in December. It will be used by the Air Force for training jet pilots and is planned to go into operation by 2024.
“The Boeing T-X trainer will keep Americans safe and create more jobs for Missourians,” Greitens said. “Companies like Boeing, which are committed to growing and investing here, show the world that our state is open for business and ready to create new jobs.”
The initial acquisition for 350 aircraft and ground-based training and support is valued at $16 billion. The TX will replace the aging T-38 trainer. The first two new TX jets were assembled at Boeing, which could be a sign of good things to come.
Senator McCaskill said nobody would be better equipped to handle the contract than Boeing.
“It's built on time, on budget, to the full capabilities, and it's reliable," McCaskill said. "That's why I'm hopeful that it's a fair competition and it will be taken into account that a competitor is getting subsidation from a foreign country.”
Congressman Lacy Clay feels Boeing is in a great position and its partnership with Saab can only help.
"This TX proposal was something we're pushing for. The TX team are always an excellent group of skilled workers that we want to support and we want those jobs here,” Clay said.
The Air Force will make its final decision later in the year.
“Our highly skilled St. Louis workforce designed, assembled and brought Boeing T-X to life, and they continue to define the future, not just for our company, but for our customers and the global aerospace industry,” said Shelley Lavender, St. Louis senior executive and president of Boeing Military Aircraft.