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Boeing sets sights on new Stingray factory

22nd September 2021 - 12:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Computerised rendering of the new Boeing factory. (Photo: Boeing)

New facility in St Louis will help Boeing meet USN requirement for more than 70 MQ-25 carrier-based unmanned refuelling aircraft.

Boeing is to complete a new 300,000ft2 (28,000m2) factory in 2024 at MidAmerica St Louis Airport in Illinois to produce the MQ-25 Stingray carrier-based unmanned tanker aircraft for the USN.

The manufacturer is already producing the first seven MQ-25s plus two System Demonstration Test Articles at its St Louis facilities. These aircraft will be transported to MidAmerica for flight tests.

According to Shephard Defence Insight, the USN intends to procure a total of 76 MQ-25 aircraft to help extend the range of the carrier air wing. Most of these Stingrays will be built in the new factory.

Working with the USN, Boeing has already put a company-owned MQ-25 (T1) through flight tests at MidAmerica. T1 has refuelled an F/A-18 Super Hornet, an E-2D Hawkeye and an F-35C Lightning II.

Boeing digitally engineered the design for the entire MQ-25 aircraft and its systems, the company claimed in a 17 September announcement, ‘resulting in high-fidelity models that are used to drive quality, efficiency and flexibility throughout the production and sustainment process’.

The new production facility will include robotic automation and advanced assembly techniques, the company added.

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