Raytheon will not pursue jet trainer plant in Meridian

Raytheon and Italian company Leonardo-Finmeccanica early last year had teamed up to pursue the U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training program, building the T-100 training jet. In October, the companies announced plans to build a plant in Meridian near the Meridian Regional Airport if awarded the program contract. While Air Force approval was pending, local, state and federal officials had indicated the deal was likely for Meridian to get the plant.

But in a joint statement Wednesday the companies said: “In February, 2016 Raytheon and Leonardo announced their intent to team on the T-X pursuit. While we remain confident that the T-100 is a strong solution, our companies were unable to reach a business agreement that is in the best interest of the U.S. Air Force. Consequently, the Raytheon and Leonardo team will not pursue the T-X competition.”

Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday said that from conversations with Raytheon, it became clear that because of “circumstances beyond the state’s control” the company would not pursue the training jet production. Bryant praised the work of Lauderdale County officials and the Mississippi Development Authority trying to land the plant.

Clarion Ledger