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Originally published June 8, 2011 at 6:56 PM | Page modified June 8, 2011 at 7:44 PM

New life at Boeing for an old factory floor

Boeing on Wednesday gave the first public look inside the building where in the 1960s the first few 737 airliners were built.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

quotes A 737 that bites! Read more
quotes Nice to see my old workplace being used for something besides storage. Read more
quotes This site is just south of Jorgensen Forge. They have to move the airplanes across... Read more

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Across Marginal Way from Boeing Field, the old plant known as the Thompson site has been reborn. Boeing on Wednesday gave the first public look inside the freshly painted building, where in the 1960s the first few 737 airliners were built. Now mechanics are installing military systems on the fifth and sixth U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine jets.

The planes, hot off the current 737 assembly line in Renton, bristle with fins and bumps — communications antennae and radar and other sensors. They'll be outfitted to carry cruise missiles on the wings, with sonar buoys, bombs and torpedoes tucked inside the fuselage.

In front of those jets, behind protective plastic sheeting, factory space is still being prepped so that four P-8s can line up nose-to-tail and roll out the far door when finished. The catwalks in the ceiling will have to be notched out to let the tip of the tails pass through.

Between 1,000 and 1,300 defense-side employees work on the P-8 program in Seattle and Kent, with hundreds more staffing the P-8 line in Renton.

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