Boeing disclosed Monday that if it wins the competition to build the Air Force’s T-X trainer, the plane will be built at the company’s manufacturing complex in St. Louis. Boeing is the biggest manufacturing employer in Missouri, and its continued presence in St. Louis has been a bulwark of the local economy at a time when other manufacturers were departing. The company says T-X could provide 1800 new jobs in the area. It could also help preserve one of the nation’s leading centers of aerospace innovation, clustered around the former McDonnell Douglas headquarters at the St. Louis airport. The Air Force doesn’t give much thought to how its program decisions impact the economy — it cares mostly about price and performance — but if President Trump decides industrial base concerns should figure more prominently, St. Louis really needs the jobs. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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