The U.S. Air Force has selected Rolls-Royce North America to provide engines for the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft as part of its Commercial Engine Replacement Program. Rolls-Royce will build and test 650 of its F130 engines for the bomber at its Indianapolis manufacturing facility and create an initial 150 jobs as a result.
The company will receive $500 million over six years for the contract, for which it has been vying for nearly three years. The U.S. Department of Defense says the contract comes with options that, if exercised, could be worth $2.6 billion to Rolls-Royce.
Rolls-Royce North America Chief Executive Officer Tom Bell says the timing of the contract could not be better as the company recently completed a $600 million upgrade to the Indy facility.
“Our Indianapolis workforce has really sweat the details of making sure that our corporation’s investment in that site and our revitalizing that manufacturing facility was successful in terms of on time, on budget and on quality,” said Bell. “We’re so thrilled to have that factory and now, to win that business to put in that factory is the perfect reward for that workforce to say that struggle, those challenges and that success is returned with new work, new jobs and an exciting future to be part of this franchise.”
Rolls-Royce says the F130 engine, once installed, can stay on the B-52’s wing for its entire planned lifetime. The company says the engine, which is already used in other USAF aircraft, provides greater fuel efficiency, increased range, and reduced tanker aircraft requirements.
The company plans to add 120-150 jobs this year, but Bell says more will be added over the next few years. “All told, over the life span of 30 years, this is going to support hundreds of jobs in Indianapolis, not only in the build and the test of the program and the engineering required, but also the sustainment modification and support,” said Bell.
The Indianapolis facility designs and manufactures engines for a variety of USAF aircraft, including the C130H, C130J, CV-22 Ospreay and the Global Hawk.
Bell says the timing of the contract could not be better as the company recently completed a $600 million upgrade to the Indy facility.