Boeing will invest $200 million to build a 291,000 square-foot assembly plant at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois. The project is expected to create 300 jobs.
The new production center will produce the MQ-25 Stingray, the U.S. Navy's first carrier-based unmanned aircraft. The facility will include state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, including robotic automation and advanced assembly techniques, to improve product quality and employee ergonomics. The new facility is expected to be completed in early 2024, and aircraft production is projected to begin at the start of the 2024 fiscal year.
"The team and state-of-the-art technology we're bringing to the Navy's MQ-25 program is unprecedented, and we're incredibly proud to be expanding both as we build the future of autonomous systems in Illinois," said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Systems, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "We've received great support from MidAmerica Airport and countless dedicated employees, and we're excited to build the Navy's first operational, carrier-based unmanned aircraft right here in the Metro East."
This project was made possible in part by an EDGE agreement from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. As part of its agreement with the State, Boeing has committed the $200 million over a 15-year period.
"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."
According to the Associated Press, the new MQ-25 facility 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.
"A more robust, healthier system of aviation is one of the main reasons why Illinois continues to strengthen its status as the transportation hub of North America under Governor Pritzker," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "These improvements will position this region and the state to build stronger connections between the modes of transportation and compete economically for generations to come."