Aerial Warfare

GKN Aerospace Completes Sale of St Louis Facility to Boeing

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GKN Aerospace Completes Sale of St Louis Facility to Boeing

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Boeing F/A-18 Block III at St. Louis, Missouri, plant.
Boeing F/A-18 Block III at St. Louis, Missouri, plant.

GKN Aerospace has completed the sale of its St. Louis facility, in Missouri, USA, to the Boeing Co.
GKN Aerospace originally purchased the site from Boeing in 2001, and over recent months it has exclusively manufactured aerostructures for them. Last year, the companies began discussing the potential to return the site to Boeing to avoid closure of the facility. A deal has now been completed and the site has returned to Boeing ownership. The sale secures the future of the facility for the employees and GKN Aerospace wish everyone at St. Louis very well for the future.

In February 2022, GKN Aerospace – the sole supplier of key parts for Boeing’s F-15 and F/A-18 fighters – announced it would close its Hazelwood plant by the end of 2023, saying it was unprofitable. Soon after the announcement, GKN proposed a sale, but Boeing passed on a deal. Its lawsuit, which ended up in federal court, accused GKN’s parent company, Melrose Industries, of inadequately capitalizing GKN and trying to gouge it on a sale price, knowing that the plant produces parts for fighters that Boeing can’t get anywhere else. GKN had agreed to produce certain parts for Boeing’s fighters, and it had to honor those contracts, the planemaker argued.

“Boeing is growing across the region with a healthy backlog of current programs while also seeking future opportunities. This agreement allows us to not only deliver for our customers, but also gives the highly skilled GKN workforce the opportunity to bring their immense talents to bear in support of the warfighter and the St. Louis defense and aerospace industry. This is a win-win-win for those employees, Boeing, and the broader Saint Louis community,” said Steve Parker, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

A new U.S. order and a major pending one from a key ally may have added urgency to Boeing’s attempt to come to terms with GKN. Boeing was lining up new business for the latest versions of the F-15 and F/A-18. Last month, Boeing secured a $1.3 billion contract from the U.S. Navy for 17 new F/A-18s. Rather than winding down next year, the order extended the life of the St. Louis County manufacturing line into 2027. President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing an $18 billion deal with Israel for up to 50 F-15EX fighter jets, one of the largest arms deals with the country in year. Delivery of its F-15EXs to the U.S. military are already running at least a year behind.

Boeing, which produces Super Hornets at a facility near St Louis, Missouri, is in the midst of a project to upgrade the US Navy’s F/A-18s to the latest Block III standard.
Boeing, which produces Super Hornets at a facility near St Louis, Missouri, is in the midst of a project to upgrade the US Navy’s F/A-18s to the latest Block III standard. (Photo by Boeing)

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