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Boeing Co. will add 300 to 400 research jobs in North Charleston as it continues to spread work around the nation from its longtime commercial airplane hub in the Pacific Northwest.
New Boeing centers
The new Boeing locations and centers:
Huntsville, Ala.: Simulation and Decision Analytics; Metals and Chemical Technology.
Southern California: Flight Sciences; Electronics and Networked Systems; Structures.
St. Louis: Systems Technology; Digital Aviation and Support Tech-nology; Metallics and Fabrication Development.
North Charleston: Manufacturing Technology.
Seattle: Manufacturing Technology Integration.
Alabama and Missouri will gain an equal number of jobs from Boeing's restructured research and technology division while Washington state will lose 800 to 1,200 positions and California's total will drop by 200 to 300.
The restructuring of the company's central research and development unit will result in new research centers in North Charleston; Huntsville, Ala.; southern California; St. Louis; and Seattle, according to a Boeing statement.
"We don't anticipate building a new building - at least in the short term," Boeing South Carolina spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said. "We are looking at leasing something."
A site has not been selected, she said.
Boeing currently employs about 75 people in research and development at its 787 Dreamliner campus near Charleston International Airport where the company has about 6,100 workers.
The new Center for Manufacturing Technology in North Charleston will focus on assembly and automation as well as composites fabrication and repair, electromagnetic effects and nondestructive evaluation, which means inspecting parts without taking them apart, Eslinger said.
The number of new jobs are included in the 2,000 additional jobs Boeing promised as part of the $120 million incentive package the state offered to the company in April in return for its additional $1 billion investment by 2020.
The new centers in each state will operate independently but cooperatively with one another 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.
"We are reorganizing and realigning our research-and-technology operations to better meet the needs of our Commercial Airplanes and Defense, Space and Security business units, as well as our government (research and development) customers," said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Research and Technology.
"Our customers have a common need for new technology that can be integrated quickly and efficiently into current products and production lines, as well as enable new market-leading products and services," Hyslop said. "With these changes, we are enhancing our ability to provide effective, efficient and innovative technology solutions."
Earlier this year, Boeing announced the geographic diversification of its Information Technology organization, as well as engineering design centers within Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The company's research and technology realignment continues the company's strategy of pursuing future growth and competitiveness while delivering on the company's promises to its customers, Boeing said in a statement.
The new research centers will consolidate technology development of strategic importance to Boeing over the long term - up to 30 years into the future, Boeing said. Their goal will be to accelerate capabilities in specific fields and collaborate with university, industry and government research centers.
The research and development division will continue to provide manufacturing technology support at Boeing production sites in Washington state, as well as Arizona, California, Missouri, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
The announcement comes as Boeing decides where to build its new 777X passenger jet. While several states, including South Carolina, offered bids by Tuesday's deadline after Boeing opened the plane's production to competitive bidding following the machinists union rejection of a new labor agreement, Boeing and the union began talking Tuesday about coming to new terms to land production of the new plane in Washington state. Talks collapsed Thursday after the union rejected Boeing's latest contract offer.
Boeing has said a decision on the 777X could come early next year.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.