MASCOUTAH (WAND) –Governor JB Pritzker joined Boeing and community leaders to announce that the company will be investing $200 million to build a brand new facility to produce the MQ-25 Stingray the U.S. Navy's first carrier-based unmanned aircraft.
Construction for the 291,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to begin later this year.
The facility will be in construction at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport and will help support nearly 300 good jobs for the Metro East region over the next three years.
Approximately 150 mechanics, engineers, and support staff will need to be hired alone to build the MQ-25TM StingrayTM.
"The world's largest aerospace company is doubling down on Illinois because of our unparalleled assets in the transportation and logistics sector and the world-class talent of our people," said Governor JB Pritzker. "To prepare our communities for the future, 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. I want to thank the Boeing Company for their vote of confidence in Illinois, as well as St Clair County leadership and the MidAmerica Airport team for giving companies another reason to choose Illinois."
"Boeing has been an institution in the St. Louis region for decades, employing today more than 15,000 people who help spur our state's economic growth," U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. "The MQ-25 Stingray represents the future of the U.S. navy's aircraft carrier mission. While Vice-Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Defense, I was proud to support more than $1.4 billion in Navy investments in this aircraft over the last four fiscal years. I was proud to announce earlier this year—alongside my colleague, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth—that MidAmerica Airport received a $12.6 million federal grant for its expansion project from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program and COVID-19 relief packages. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to continuing to invest in a robust domestic aerospace industry that bring jobs to Illinois."
This project was made possible in part by an EDGE agreement from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. As part of the States agreement, Boeing has committed to an initial investment of at least $200 million over 15 years.
The innovative MQ-25 facility will include state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, including robotic automation and advanced assembly techniques, to improve product quality and employee ergonomics.
Boeing digitally engineered the MQ-25 aircraft and its systems, resulting in high-fidelity models that drive quality and efficient production.
The new facility is expected to be completed in early 2024, and aircraft production is projected to begin at the start of FY 2024.
The project will be in addition to existing manufacturing operations at Boeing St. Clair, which produces components for the CH-47 Chinook, F/A-18 Super Hornet, and other defense products.
Boeing's investments in Mascoutah are the latest in a series to prepare MidAmerica St. Louis Airport for future growth.
Fueled by $57 million in Rebuild Illinois capital funds, the airport will deliver taxiway and airfield enhancements surrounding the new Boeing production facility and significant upgrades to the passenger terminal facility.
"We congratulate Boeing on their partnership with the U.S. Navy and are excited to support their increased presence here in Illinois," said DCEO Acting Director Sylvia Garcia. "Thanks to key investments made under Governor Pritzker's leadership, Illinois continues to support the growth of our aviation ecosystem – launching cutting edge technology and creating long term job opportunities for Illinoisans."
"The investments being made at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport by Boeing and the State of Illinois are a great example of how we can bring public and private partners together to maximize the benefit for the region and for those around the world who rely on the airport," said Airport Director Bryan Johnson. "These latest investments will generate significant revenue for the airport, increase operations, reinforce our strong relationship with Boeing, create local jobs, catalyze further development at the airport and create further synergies with Scott Air Force Base."