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Boeing Unveils New F-15QA Fighter

August 26, 2021
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Yesterday morning, Steve Parker, the senior executive for Boeing in St. Louis and an executive committee member of Greater St. Louis, Inc.’s Chair’s Council, described the St. Louis-made F-15 Eagle as “iconic as the Gateway Arch.” Generations of St. Louisans have designed, engineered and manufactured more than 2,000 of these undefeated tactical aircraft.

Steve spoke at a formal ceremony introducing the most advanced F-15 ever made, the all-new F-15QA, built for the Qatari Emiri Air Force. A large delegation of Qatari officials and uniformed military were on hand for an extraordinary reveal of the new F-15QA. Seeing this aircraft up close is a reminder of the technological sophistication and superiority we export around the globe from the St. Louis metro.

More than 15,000 women and men throughout our metro count on Boeing for quality jobs; that impact extends to hundreds more regional suppliers that play critical roles in the advanced manufacturing supply chain. The Qatari purchase, along with a new order from the United States Air Force, will keep the production line going through at least 2030.  

Recognizing the Long-Term Legacy

Big days like this remind me why we must maintain a long-term focus on entrepreneurship and start-up companies. A young James S. “Mac” McDonnell came to St. Louis and, in 1939, founded the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation — what we today know as Boeing. This move followed years of St. Louis civic leaders banding together to intentionally build an aviation cluster in that then-emerging industry. One of the lasting symbols of their efforts is Charles Lindbergh’s famous “Spirit of St. Louis” flight, made possible through a collaborative effort to pool civic funds and sponsor this pioneering moment for aviation.  

It is hard for me to imagine a St. Louis without the long-term impact left by McDonnell Aircraft: the famous F-4 Phantom II, Gemini and Mercury, to name but a few. Even the global biotech powerhouse BioMereieux’s current St. Louis presence – 1,000 local jobs in our metro – spun out from McDonnell. We are privileged that the McDonnell Family is still so civically active in St. Louis today. They are active investors in Greater St. Louis, Inc. and many other efforts, helping to ensure that the next chapter of our metro economy is the very best it can be.

Intentional Planning for the Future

Unified civic leadership has a long-term impact on the economy of St. Louis, and that impact is the very reason that you created Greater St. Louis, Inc. We see the long-term impact of the civic leaders before you who worked to make St. Louis a global aviation leader, an impact felt on a global scale again yesterday.

Now, we come together as Greater St. Louis, Inc. to make the collaborative investments necessary to win in emerging industry clusters like geospatial, agtech, fintech, advanced production and others – those identified in the STL 2030 Jobs Plan as critical to inclusive prosperity this decade. 

The next “Mac” is in St. Louis now, innovating in a co-working space or receiving an Arch Grant. Or maybe today’s Mac will look up at the Gateway Arch for the first time in October during St. Louis’ first-ever global GEOINT geospatial convention — yet another example of successful regional collaboration to showcase our innovation prowess. 

Together, we have what it takes to win this decade and beyond. We must play like we want to win every single day. Thank you for powering this civic effort to shape the next chapter of St. Louis’ economy.

Jason Hall
CEO, Greater St. Louis, Inc.