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Indianapolis Rolls-Royce plant could build new engines for B-52 bombers

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Rolls-Royce selected Indianapolis as the site of a proposed plant to build the F130 engine for the U.S. Air Force B-52 fleet.

The B-52 program would include 650 new engines for the iconic strategic bombers. Rolls-Royce plans to bid on the project and said the contract would mean a new plant and 150 new jobs in manufacturing, engineering and program management. A decision is expected by 2020.

The company made the announcement Monday at the Rolls-Royce Performance Building on South Tibbs Avenue. Company officials joined Mayor Joe Hogsett, Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger and Indiana Economic Development Corporation President Elaine Bledel for the announcement.

The company said the engine is a variant of its BR725 commercial engine. The F130 already powers aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, including the E-11A and C-37.

“Our ultra-modern, advanced manufacturing facilities in Indianapolis are the perfect location to produce, assemble, and test the Rolls-Royce F130 engine for the U.S. Air Force B-52 program,” said Tom Bell, president of Rolls-Royce.

“Rolls-Royce North America continues to invest heavily in advanced manufacturing and technology at our Indianapolis site, making it one of the most efficient and modern facilities anywhere in the aerospace world,” he said.

The company is nearing completion of a $600 million investment in Indiana, including state-of-the-start advanced manufacturing capabilities at its Indianapolis facilities. The investment paved the way for Monday’s announcement.

Indianapolis boasts the largest Rolls-Royce engineering, design and manufacturing site in the U.S. Several engines for U.S. Air Force aircraft are manufactured in Indy, including those for the C-130J transport, CV-22 Osprey and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle.

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