Boeing will build a new high-tech facility in Illinois, the United States, which will be dedicated to the production of the MQ-25 Stingray, its new unmanned aircraft for the US Navy, the company revealed on September 17, 2021.
The new 300,000 square-foot (27,870.91 square-meters) facility, which will be based at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV), Illinois, will be equipped with “state-of-the-art” tools, such as robotic automation systems and advanced assembly technologies.
Initially, it will employ approximately 150 mechanics, engineers, and support staff but Boeing hopes the staff numbers could double in the future if it lands more orders.
The unmanned aircraft system MQ-25 was designed for the US Navy missions and it will be capable of providing the Navy with robust refueling capabilities. Aerial refueling is necessary for the Navy to extend the range of its fighter jets and other aircraft. The MQ-25, which will operate from aircraft carriers, will be able to refuel all carrier-capable aircraft of the US Navy.
“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,” Kristin Robertson, vice president, and general manager of Autonomous Systems, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, was quoted in the statement.
The MQ-25 facility is expected to be completed in 2024.
On September 13, 2021, the MQ-25 T1 test asset refueled an F-35C Lightning II fighter jet of the US Navy for the first time.
Boeing is already building the first seven MQ-25 aircraft but expects the US Navy to procure more than 70.