Rolls-Royce to invest $584m to modernise Indianapolis operations

Rolls-Royce has announced it will invest $584m to modernise its manufacturing operations in Indianapolis.

The five-year modernisation plan includes a major renovation of existing facilities and an upgrade of its manufacturing and assembly operations.

The modernisation plan will also enable the engine maker to conduct technology research that will ensure Indiana remains a leader in the aerospace industry for years to come.

The five-year plan will help Rolls-Royce to become more competitive by replacing outdated facilities and accelerating the introduction of new and advanced manufacturing methods.

An F-35B makes a vertical landing on an aircraft carrier. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
An F-35B makes a vertical landing on an aircraft carrier (image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons).

The $584m investment is the largest made by the British company in the US since it bought the former Allison Engine Company for $525m in 1995.

President and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America, Marion Blakey, said the investment would help to develop a facility that can increase the company’s market competiveness.

“Our new facility will be a state-of-the art manufacturing centre that combines modern production systems and machinery with a highly skilled workforce,” she said.

“This investment ensures that we can increase our competiveness in the market, which will benefit both our customers and Rolls-Royce.”

Indianapolis is Rolls-Royce’s largest site outside the U.K, employing nearly 4000 people who work at 12 locations including LibertyWorks; the company’s advanced technology research and design unit.

Engines which are designed, assembled and tested at Indianapolis are used in a wide range of military and commercial aircraft as well as in marine propulsion systems.

These include the F-35B Lightning II, C-130J Super Hercules, V-22 Osprey, Global Hawk and the Triton UAVs.

Rolls-Royce’s investment in its Indianapolis site was part of an agreement with the State of Indiana, the City of Indianapolis and the United Auto Workers union, in which the engine maker will receive $35m in state and city incentives including conditional tax credits and a skills enhancement grant through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Centenary celebrations

The investment in the Indianapolis site coincides with Rolls-Royce’s recent celebration of 100 years of operating in Indianapolis.

Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East and President of Aerospace Tony Wood joined in the centenary celebrations with other company leaders, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and thousands of Rolls-Royce employees during the event at Indianapolis International Airport.

The celebration occurred just two days after Rolls-Royce announced its $585m investment towards its Indianapolis site  on October 5.

This follows the company’s announcement in September that it would invest in the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District in West Lafayette, with Rolls-Royce the first company to announce it will move into the research park.