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Aerospace firm plans to add 159 engineering jobs

January 27, 2011

Aero Engine Controls plans to invest as much as $8.5 million to expand its operations near Indianapolis International Airport, adding up to 159 jobs over the next two years.

State officials announced the expansion plans Thursday morning.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the aerospace engineering firm up to $2.9 million in performance-based tax credits based on the company’s job-creation plans.

Aero Engine Controls is a joint venture established in 2009 by British firm Rolls-Royce plc and Charlotte, N.C.-based Goodrich Corp. It designs engine control systems for aircraft ranging from helicopters to large commercial and military airplanes. Rolls-Royce, an aircraft engine-maker, has more than 4,000 employees in Indianapolis.

The idea behind the joint venture was to bring Rolls-Royce and Goodrich together so its products would be more “cohesive,” CEO Denny Warner told IBJ.

“It’s a small-company mindset,” he said. “We’re supposed to be agile. It’s OK to have fun.”

Aero Engine Controls’ headquarters and manufacturing are in the United Kingdom, but much of the engineering work is done in Indianapolis. The office near Indianapolis International Airport’s old terminal opened on Sept. 1, 2009, with about 50 engineers from Rolls-Royce, but now employs 89. That number could swell to more than 200 over the next two years.

“We’re a very small company in the big scheme of things, but we’re really proud of the type of jobs we’re creating here,” Warner said.

Much of the company's growth will be in software development, an area in which Rolls-Royce was not very active before the joint venture, Warner said. One of the company’s many projects is creating software for an electronic controls unit that goes into several of the helicopter engines Rolls-Royce makes in Indianapolis, he said.

Aero will be hiring aeronautical, mechanical and electrical engineers and will make a capital investment of up to $8.5 million over the next four years. Much of that spending will be for licensed software that engineers use in modeling, Warner said.

Purdue University and IUPUI have partnered with Aero  to explore business opportunities and to develop mutually beneficial design projects.

Aero Engine Controls subleases its space at 7761 N. Perimeter Road from Rolls-Royce and will take additional space in the same building, Warner said. The landlord is Paul Kite

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