Boeing to move 2,000 defense jobs out of Washington

The Boeing Co. is moving about 2,000 defense jobs out of Washington to the Midwest as it consolidates its defense division in the face of declining military budgets.

The KC-46 aerial refueling tanker and the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft projects will not be significantly affected, according to the Chicago-based company’s news release Monday afternoon.

“Both the P-8 and the KC-46A tanker have decades-long production runs in front of them,” said Chris Chadwick, Boeing Defense, Space &Security president and chief executive officer.

Many of the jobs are in engineering, and Boeing will use relocations, transfers, attrition and layoffs to shift the work, according to one person familiar with the plans.

Affected employees, mostly in Kent and Seattle, will get details at an all-hands meeting Tuesday morning.

The company says about 900 jobs could move to Oklahoma City and up to 500 to St. Louis in about three years. About 2,000 employees could be affected by the move that also include jobs being sent to Jacksonville, Florida, and Patuxent River, Maryland.

Programs being moved include services and support work for the 707-based airborne warning and control jets, the 737-based airborne early warning and control jets, and the F-22 Raptor.

The 737-derivative airplanes will still be assembled in Renton, where the 737 is produced, but the program engineering work will be done in Oklahoma City.

Boeing has been expanding Oklahoma operation since 2012, largely by shifting defense work from Wichita, Kansas, and from Southern California.

St. Louis is the headquarters of the aerospace giant’s defense unit and where it assembles F-15 and F/A-18 jet fighters. But those programs are expected to close in a few years, which would mean big job cuts.

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