2015 TOP STORIES: Rolls-Royce launches $600 million Indy upgrade

Rolls-Royce Corp. in October announced plans for a wide-scale modernization of its Tibbs Avenue jet-engine plant in Indianapolis—part of an overall plan to invest nearly $600 million in its local operations over five years.

The work—which began in late fall—will include a major renovation of the existing Plant 8 at Tibbs Avenue and Raymond Street and installation of new equipment.

The upgrades at the Tibbs Avenue plant are expected to reduce costs for Rolls by replacing outdated infrastructure and equipment, which in some cases date back to World War II.

“Our new facility will be a state-of-the-art manufacturing center that combines modern production systems and machinery with a highly skilled workforce,” said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America. “This investment ensures that we can increase our competitiveness in the market, which will benefit both our customers and Rolls-Royce.”

The local plant produces engines and engine parts for small passenger jets and a variety of military aircraft, from cargo planes to the Global Hawk Surveillance craft.

Rolls-Royce also operates an advanced aerospace technology research and design unit in Indianapolis, which is known as LibertyWorks.

Rolls-Royce’s planned investment is not expected to create jobs, but the Legislature tweaked a law so the project would qualify for $17 million in state incentives.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. granted Rolls-Royce $17 million in tax credits and up to $1.42 million in training grants.

Rolls-Royce officials said the firm would receive a total of $35 million in state and city incentives, including an agreement with city officials to amend an existing real estate and personal property tax abatement.

Rolls-Royce employs 4,000 people in Indianapolis.

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