Boeing Bets on Future Projects by Investing Early in Facility Expansion in St. Louis

Boeing STL New Factory
Artist’s impression of the new Advanced Combat Air Facility when completed in 2026. (Boeing)

Building work on the Boeing St. Louis Brownleigh site, known as the Advanced Combat Air Facility, is now in Phase 2 and – give or take some crucial government decisions – is due to be completed in 2026, confirmed Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager, Air Dominance and St. Louis Site Leader. Building began in Q4 2023.

While Nordlund would not commit to what would be built at the site once it is finished, he did state that Boeing is spending $1.8 billion on capital investment, most of which was focused in the facilities in and around St Louis.

Once completed, the new 1.1 million square foot facility will be operated by employees who are part of Boeing’s Phantom Works team as the division has been based in the area for many years. It is one of several based in the U.S. and around the world.

“We are focused on what our future portfolio will be,” stated Nordlund when pushed on whether he was looking ahead to the U.S. Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) sixth generation initiative. While there are no public decisions on NGAD, Nordlund said that global advisories were pushing ahead with their own developments, and that Boeing wanted to be ready as “there will be a next generation – the question is when [will the decision be made] and who [will be selected].”

The importance of Phantom Works cannot be understated, said Nordlund, adding that 80 percent of Boeing’s classified personnel work in the St. Louis facilities.

“We have a tremendous amount of technology investment that goes into Phantom Works,” he said, adding that the capabilities that were continually being developed were not just for current and future fighters, but spread across satellites and virtually all of Boeing’s defence and space products.

Thinking about the timing of when the facility could begin work, he inferred that the pace could be quickened should the need arise. “This is a pretty big bet for the Boeing company,” he concluded.

by Andrew Drwiega, St Louis, Missouri