Boeing has chosen Triumph Group’s manufacturing facility in Red Oak to be part of a bid for a $16 billion military jet contract that could bring hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic impact to the D-FW region.
Boeing announced Friday that Triumph Group will supply the wing, vertical and horizontal tail structures and other components for the next generation T-X aircraft, which would be used by the Air Force to train jet pilots.
The $16 billion contract is expected to be awarded by the spring of 2018, with Boeing’s proposal competing against several other bids from top military contractors, including Lockheed Martin, whose aeronautics division is headquartered in Fort Worth.
The Air Force is seeking a replacement for its aging fleet of T-38 Talon jets, which first entered service in the 1960s. The new jet incorporates the latest technological and avionics advancements to better train pilots to fly new, advanced aircraft like the F-35.
“We are giving the Air Force a brand new, flexible design that will meet all the requirements. It can evolve as technologies, missions and training needs change,” said Karl Jeppesen, vice president of supplier management for Boeing Defense, Space and Security. “It takes partnerships like this to win and position us for a bold and bright future.”
The initial Air Force order is for 350 aircraft, but Boeing and Triumph officials suggested that number could end up significantly higher, at as many as 2,000 jets, once orders from foreign buyers are placed.
Jeppesen said Boeing received bids from several prospective suppliers before choosing Triumph. He said the company offered the best mix of affordability and performance.
The selection was announced at Triumph’s Red Oak plant Friday morning, with U.S. Representatives Joe Barton and Pete Sessions joining executives and employees from both companies.
If Boeing wins the bid, Triumph’s share of the base contract would create an estimated 950 direct and indirect jobs, with a local economic impact of $59 million. The company, headquartered in Pennsylvania, currently employs about 1,100 workers, including fabricators, engineers, supply chain workers and others at its Red Oak plant.
The facility has already produced components for two T-X aircraft already produced by Boeing. It has also done work on a variety of other Boeing aircraft, including the V-22 Osprey.
Dan Crowley, Triumph’s CEO, said the T-X aircraft incorporates modern manufacturing techniques that allow the plane components to be assembled more quickly and reliably by “snapping” together, rather than being riveted together.
“This announcement means much more than additional hours for the factory. It means highly-skilled aerospace jobs will be generated and filled right here in the great state of Texas,” Crowley said.