Big military budget refuels St. Louis-built Super Hornet
Continued interest from the U. S. Navy in the Super Hornet could mean many more years of life for a St. Louis production line some thought would have already wound down by now. And that means jobs for about 2,000 Boeing workers in the St. Louis area and thousands more at hundreds of suppliers around the country.
Last week, President Donald Trump requested another two dozen fighters in his fiscal 2019 budget request, on top of the 24 congressional budget writers have already included in this year’s budget. Beyond 2019, the Navy says it wants to buy 86 into 2023.
“The future for Super Hornet wasn’t always that bright,” said Dan Gillian. “Now we feel very good, very confident. We are building more airplanes, bringing on more capabilities. It’s a growing program. We are excited about where we are going with Super Hornet.”
The planes have a tremendous economic impact. One Super Hornet costs roughly $75 million and takes three years to build, the last seven months of which happens inside enormous hangars across from the airport in north St. Louis County, where the majority of the 14,000 people Boeing employs in the region work.
Gillian said he expected production of the Super Hornet to remain steady at two per month, the plant’s sustainable capacity, and possibly increase to three per month in the early 2020s.
He added that there continues to be interest from abroad. “We have good, strong international demand,” he said.