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Boeing to build factory in Illinois to produce MQ-25 Stingray

September 21, 2021  - By
Boeing will build the U.S. Navy's MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial refueler at a new 300,000-square-foot facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Illinois. (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing will build the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial refueler at a new 300,000-square-foot facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Illinois. (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing will build the MQ-25 Stingray — the Navy’s first carrier-based unmanned aircraft — at a new high-tech facility in Illinois. The 300,000 square-foot facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, Illinois, is scheduled for completion in 2024.

The MQ-25 facility will include state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and tools, including robotic automation and advanced assembly techniques, to improve product quality and employee ergonomics. The facility initially will employ 150 mechanics, engineers and support staff, but could grow to 300 with additional orders.

Boeing digitally engineered the entire MQ-25 aircraft and its systems, resulting in high-fidelity models used to drive quality, efficiency and flexibility throughout the production and sustainment process.

For two years, Boeing and the Navy have been flight testing the Boeing-owned MQ-25 test asset from MidAmerica Airport. In recent missions, the T1 model has refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet, an E-2D Hawkeye and an F-35C Lightning II.

The U.S. Navy intends to procure more than 70 MQ-25 aircraft to help extend the range of the carrier air wing, and the majority of those will be built in the new facility. Boeing is producing the first seven MQ-25 aircraft, plus two ground test articles, at its St. Louis facilities, and they will be transported to MidAmerica for flight test. The MQ-25 program office, including its core engineering team, will remain based in St. Louis. MidAmerica is adjacent to Scott Air Force Base.

The new MQ-25 facility will be in addition to existing manufacturing operations at Boeing St. Clair, which produce components for the CH-47 Chinook, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-15 and other defense products.

T1 Stingray refuels a Navy F/A-18. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Boeing)

T1 Stingray refuels a Navy F/A-18. (Photo:
U.S. Navy/Boeing)

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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