Sky Talk

If Boeing beats out Lockheed for jet contract, it means jobs in North Texas

Triumph Group could add hundreds of jobs at its factory in Red Oak if Boeing wins the contract for a new U.S. Air Force trainer jet.

On Friday, Boeing announced it had selected Triumph to build the wing, vertical tail and horizontal tail structures for the T-X aircraft, which could result in 950 direct and indirect jobs in Texas with an economic impact of $59 million.

“The number of airplanes will ultimately determine how many jobs, but it will be hundreds of jobs here at the Red Oak plant,” said Dan Crowley, chief executive of Triumph. “It’s a really beautiful airplane and it’s affordable.”

Boeing, with its partner Saab, is competing against Lockheed Martin and two other European firms for the Air Force contract to produce 351 next-generation training jets. If Lockheed wins the contract, it plans to build the training jet at its Greenville, S.C. plant.

Triumph has 1,100 workers at its Red Oak facility, where it makes components for the V-22 Osprey and Boeing’s C-17, and another 850 employees at a plant in Grand Prairie and engineering offices in Arlington.

The Air Force is expected to make a decision on the contract in the spring, said Karl Jeppesen, vice president of supplier management for Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

The components manufactured for the T-X program will be sent to St. Louis where Boeing will do final assembly of the jet. The Red Oak plant already produced parts for the two prototypes that Boeing has used in demonstrations for the Air Force.

“Triumph was chosen because they brought the best value,” Jeppesen said, noting that the T-X is a low-cost military program. The first T-X training jets could be operational by 2024.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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