Rolls-Royce broke ground today for its new outdoor jet engine testing facility at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.This new facility will be used to test development and prototype jet engines for performance, noise, validation of safety systems and other factors.
Initially, it will test the company’s latest, high-thrust Trent engines, the Trent 1000 and Trent 900, being developed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 respectively. Work is expected to begin at the site in the second half of 2007.
This is the first Rolls-Royce test facility of its kind outside the UK and the first built from the ground-up in the US. Last year, the company announced its intent to relocate this testing capability from the UK to the US. There are only three such testing facilities in the world.
“Today’s groundbreaking underscores our continuing commitment to globalization and to the US,” said Mike Ryan, Executive Vice President for Government Business, Rolls-Royce North America. “Rolls-Royce has been in the US for 100 years and we plan to be here for at least 100 more. I can think of no better way to usher in our second century than to conduct this important work on these shores.”
Rolls-Royce will spend $42 million on construction and facility upgrades as well as utilize existing infrastructure at Stennis.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and First Lady Marsha Barbour joined Rolls-Royce and local dignitaries at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“The decision by Rolls-Royce to relocate a significant portion of its outdoor jet engine testing to Mississippi speaks clearly about our state’s ability to accommodate business operations on a global scale,” said Governor Barbour. “I am delighted Mississippi was chosen as the location for this important work and especially pleased that this outstanding company will grow its Mississippi presence by creating more good-paying jobs in the state.”
Congressman Gene Taylor said, “I applaud Rolls-Royce’s decision to locate its jet engine test facility in South Mississippi. As NASA can attest, the Stennis Space Center is home to a highly skilled workforce and is the preeminent location for engine testing in the United States.”
Last year, Rolls-Royce expanded and upgraded its Naval Marine foundry in Pascagoula, MS, enhancing manufacturing capabilities and improving production efficiencies across a range of marine products.
“We’re especially pleased to be back in Mississippi,” continued Ryan. “We’ve enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the people of Mississippi for several years now and this new facility only enhances our partnership,” added Ryan.