A busy couple of weeks for the executives heading Boeing’s 777X production site search perhaps overshadowed other significant developments, including an announcement last week that the company will help build a new full-service training facility in Russia and the revelation of plans to restructure its research and technology organization (BR&T) through the establishment of research centers in Alabama, California, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington state.
The establishment of the training center, set to open in 2015 in the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow, also involves Russia’s Industrial Investors Group and its Transas subsidiary. Plans call for initial capabilities to include local flight, maintenance and specialty training for every Boeing airplane model in operation in Russia, and for locally based instructors to participate in flight training.
The new facility will open with three 737NG full-flight simulators and a single 777 machine occupying four bays. The contract calls for Transas to build two simulators and to allow for expansion to accommodate more capacity as customers need it. The partners have scheduled construction to start next spring and for training to start in mid-2015.
Meanwhile, the restructuring of Boeing’s central research and technology unit follows the company’s announcement earlier this year of the geographic diversification of its Information Technology organization and engineering design centers within Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Boeing plans for the new BR&T centers to operate “independently but cooperatively” with each other and with Boeing technology centers in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Spain and Russia. The international centers conduct research to benefit the environment, aviation safety, air traffic management and other areas.
Plans call for the new center in Huntsville, Alabama, to conduct simulation and decision analytics and research on metals and chemicals technology; in Southern California, the staff will concentrate on flight sciences, electronics and networked systems and structures; in St. Louis, disciplines will cover systems technology, digital aviation and support technology, metallics and fabrication; in North Charleston, South Carolina, work will center on manufacturing technology; and, finally, Seattle will be the venue for study into the integration of that manufacturing technology.
As Boeing establishes the centers, it expects its BR&T employee totals to grow between 300 and 400 each in Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina, while the number of jobs in Washington state declines by between 800 and 1,200 and in California by 200 to 300.