Rolls-Royce Indiana, USA engine testing center to get $400m upgrade


Rolls-Royce is to invest US$400 million to modernize its engine test facilities in Indiana, USA.

The new Indianapolis test facilities will be built at the company’s Operations Campus near Tibbs Avenue and Raymond Street in Indianapolis. The test cells, control rooms and other upgrades will be used to test the modern gas turbine engines manufactured on site, which power a variety of defense and commercial aircraft, ships and power systems in use around the world.

The facility will test engines for a variety of products, including the U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bomber fleet, after Rolls-Royce won a US$2.6 billion contract last fall to manufacture 650 engines for the aircraft.

The Indianapolis campus modernization program began with a previous US$600 million investment in new manufacturing facilities, upgraded equipment and advanced technology, which was started in 2015 and completed last year.

The modernization program will be carried out over the next five years and will upgrade full engine test capabilities. It follows a major upgrade of the manufacturing capabilities at its campus in Indianapolis.

The additional $400 million investment in the test facilities will further establish the Indianapolis site among the most advanced manufacturing campuses that Rolls-Royce operates. The company employs 3,300  people at the site.

Tom Bell, chairman and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America said, “We are thrilled to expand our modern test capabilities and footprint in Indianapolis. We are developing facilities that will enhance our recent modernization project and create value for our customers with highly efficient and advanced manufacturing capabilities. Rolls-Royce North America is growing, modernizing and leading the way across the US.”

Phil Burkholder, Rolls-Royce Defense, executive vice president – defense global assembly, manufacturing and test said, “New testing facilities at our Indianapolis site will further enhance our Indiana advanced manufacturing operations. What we do here provides essential capability for the US military and is also a vital part of the Indiana economy.”

Rolls-Royce is also investing in test capability in West Lafayette, Indiana following on an announcement from 2021 that Rolls-Royce would grow its presence at the Discovery Park District at Purdue. That includes upgrading the company’s electronic engine controls business and adding high-altitude, hybrid electrical and hypersonics test capabilities.

The new projects will form a significant, large-scale testing campus at the Discovery Park District, where Rolls-Royce already has an electronic controls facility and conducts advanced engine testing at Purdue’s Zucrow Propulsion Labs.

The investment in the Indiana testing site brings Rolls-Royce’s total investment in the USA to nearly US$1.5 billion in the past decade. The company has invested over US$100 million coast to coast across the US since 2015, updating facilities in Massachusetts, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, South Carolina and California.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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