Boeing’s decision to assemble its T-X Air Force training jet at its St. Louis facility is expected to support approximately 1,800 jobs in the region.

If the Air Force chooses Boeing to help train pilots for generations to come, T-X will be the newest project for a community that has produced some of the most acclaimed military aircraft of the past seven decades.

“The Boeing T-X trainer will keep Americans safe and create more jobs for Missourians,” said Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. “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 jobs projection includes direct and indirect positions expected to be supported by the T-X work.

On the 20th of December 2016 Boeing and its partner Saab completed the first flight of their all-new T-X aircraft. The first of two production-ready, Boeing T-X, designed specifically for the US Air Force’s training requirements, completed its first flight in St. Louis (USA).

“I’m proud that Boeing has trust in the highly skilled workforce in my district, and I look forward to the economic opportunity these jobs will bring for our community and the Missouri supply chain,” added U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, who represents Missouri’s first district that includes Boeing’s St. Louis facility.

The first two new, purpose-built T-X aircraft have proven the design’s low-risk, performance and repeatability in manufacturing.

“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.

Boeing T-X is a training system designed specifically for the Air Force training mission. It will replace the service’s fleet of aging T-38 aircraft. The initial acquisition, for 350 aircraft and the associated ground-based training and support, is valued at up to $16 billion. Initial operating capability is planned for 2024. The contract award is expected by the end of the year.

According to US Air Force, the T-X program is to provide student pilots in Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training advanced phase and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals with the skills and competencies required to transition into 4th- and 5th-generation fighter aircraft.

The Air Force is well on its way to replacing the fifty-five year old T-38 with the 30th of December 2016 release of the development request for proposal, or RFP, for the T-X program.