Rolls-Royce looks to expand test sites

Rolls-Royce Group, one of the largest employers in Indianapolis, is studying sites in the United States and Germany for new engine test sites, a United Kingdom newspaper reported Monday.

The company told workers in Derby, England, where it employs 11,000, that it was considering international sites outside of the United Kingdom, The Telegraph reported.

A U.S.-based Rolls-Royce spokesman said it was too early to provide information about "specific locations, time lines or other details."

Derby is the company's "center of excellence" for large engines. It builds and tests the Trent XWB, which will go in the new Airbus A350. That program will continue in Derby as it expands, but the company says it's looking at new locations to help fulfill orders worth about $98 billion.

"This proposed study responds to growing demand for test capacity across our engine range,” the Rolls-Royce spokesman said.

Rolls-Royce could open test sites either in the United States, or Germany, or both, the Telegraph reported.

The company builds small engines in Indianapolis, which has test stands for the Joint Strike Fighter LiftSystem and turbo-shaft and turbo-prop engines. Rolls-Royce has also opened a manufacturing center in Prince George County, Va., and engine-testing is in the long-term plan for that site.

Rolls-Royce announced March 15 that it would lease 404,000 square feet in two Faris-campus buildings on South Meridian Street that Eli Lilly and Co. vacated in 2010. The aircraft-engine maker will begin moving 2,500 office employees to the site from other Indianapolis locations this year.
 

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