Rolls-Royce lands $216M contract for fighter jet lift systems

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc has landed a $216 million contract to produce vertical lift systems for fighter jets, and most of that work will happen at the manufacturer’s Plainfield and Indianapolis facilities.

Based in England, Rolls-Royce makes engines used in aerospace, marine, energy and off-highway environments. The company has more than 50,000 employees worldwide, including about 4,000 locally.

This week, Rolls-Royce announced it has reached an agreement to produce 13 LiftSystems for Pratt & Whitney. The LiftSystem is used in the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, allowing the fighter jet to perform short take-offs and vertical landings.

“It is the only technology like it in the world today. We’re the only company in the world that makes it,” said George McLaren, an Indianapolis-based Rolls-Royce spokesman.

McLaren said most of the work on this contract will be handled locally. Major assembly of the LiftSystem components takes place at a Rolls-Royce facility in Plainfield, with engineering support from a team in Indianapolis.

“It is a big significant local program for us,” McLaren said.

The one-year contract isn’t expected to affect local staffing levels, he said.

F-35B fighter jets are used by the Marines, along with England’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

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