A big blow to St. Louis and the state economy as the Pentagon awards the contract for production of the Joint Strike Fighter to Lockheed Martin of Fort Worth, Texas. Boeing had been in a fierce competition with Lockheed Martin for the contract expected to total $300 billion. Boeing had promised to build the new aircraft in St. Louis in a new factory employing as many as 5,000 workers. It is the second blow to St. Louis in the long process to produce a new type of fighter jet for both the United States and British militaries. McDonnell Douglas couldn’t absorb the blow of being eliminated from the bidding process a year after the Pentagon formed the Joint Advanced Strike Technology Program in 1995. Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas and made the St. Louis firm its military division. The Joint Strike Fighter will replace current military aircraft. The loss of the contract will force Boeing out of the jet fighter business after its current fighter programs expire.
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