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Springfield jobs get boost from Boeing deal

Local plant gets long-term security, expected growth with finalized contract.

A new agreement with Boeing announced Wednesday is expected to help secure close to 100 local jobs for several years and provide new work for a company with a long manufacturing history in Springfield.

The Springfield News-Sun first reported in October that HDI Landing Gear USA Inc. had reached a Memorandum of Agreement with Boeing. The finalized contract means HDI Landing Gear will supply landing gear systems, including the main and nose landing gear, to Boeing’s 777 and 777X programs. The contract has been described as the largest ever awarded to the landing gear operations portion of the company.

Formerly known as Eagle Machine and Tool Co., the company at 663 Montgomery Ave. was purchased by Heroux-Devtek Inc. in 2010. Heroux-Devtek is a Canadian aerospace manufacturer. Eagle Tool was founded in 1939 in Springfield and produced landing gear components, mainly for the military.

Local company officials have said the new contract shows that Heroux-Devtek is committed to helping grow the local firm, which employs about 95 people. Additional jobs are possible because of the Boeing contract.

Information from the company shows deliveries of the landing gear will begin in 2017, and there is an option to extend the contract through 2028.

The agreement helps secure high-tech manufacturing jobs and shows the company’s commitment to Springfield and Clark County, said John Detrick, Clark County commissioner.

“As a community, we couldn’t be happier to have Boeing landing gear made here in Springfield,” Detrick said.

Along with landing gear, the company will also produce parts that Boeing will be able to sell in the aftermarket. The new agreement is also expected to mean an upgrade in technology for the local company, which should help make it more competitive in the future.

“The signature of this long-term contract brings Heroux-Devtek one step closer to initiating the execution of the largest contract ever awarded to its landing gear operations,” said Gilles Labbe, president and CEO of Heroux-Devtek in a press release. “The entire organization is excited about this development and eager to demonstrate its world-class capabilities in producing large-scale, complete landing gear systems.”

The Boeing 777 is a twin-engine, long-haul airplane used in travel as well as to transport cargo.

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