Boeing announced Monday it will continue manufacturing the T-X training plane in its St. Louis facility.

The contract up for grabs from the U.S. Air Force is an order of 350 planes costing $16 billion, equaling support for about 1,800 local jobs.

WATCH: Boeing announces T-X training aircraft assembly location

The planes were first tested above St. Louis last month. Governor Eric Greitens says the fact that these planes were developed here gives them a “leg up,” and he is confident they'll beat two competitors for the contract.

“Boeing's done an incredible job with this T-X trainer and I believe that we can win this contract,” he said.

“For more than 30 years the men and women of Boeing St. Louis have been supplying our nation’s military with advanced training systems,” said Shelley Lavender, President of Boeing military aircraft. “But none of those airplanes or systems looked as cool as the T-X.”

Senator Claire McCaskill says Boeing's the proven choice during a trying time.

“Especially in light of the threats we're facing from North Korea and Russia and Iran, it’s incredibly important that we're able to train up our pilots in an efficient way. That's why this T-X program is so essential.” She said. “As one of the senior members of the armed services committee I can tell you firsthand how desperately we need this trainer.”

Before heading back to Washington, Congressman Lacy Clay told workers he would continue lobbying for them to win the military contract.

“We are going to do everything possible to make great things happen with all of you."

Boeing says they are told the contract decision will be made by the end of the year.

Related: Boeing to announce final T-X assembly spot