In Indianapolis, Indiana on August 11, 2021, Rolls-Royce North America—a major aerospace and defense manufacturer—completed a major revitalization program of the World War II-era buildings and contaminated site housing their facilities.
Eric J. Holcomb, Governor of Indiana, said, “Rolls-Royce has been an integral part of Indiana’s manufacturing industry for more than 100 years, contributing to our status as the strongest manufacturing state in the nation. Days like today, where we get to celebrate a major investment and revitalization of manufacturing operations, are proof that Indiana is on a roll, exactly because of Rolls-Royce’s continuing commitment to powering the future from right here in the heart of the heartland.”
The company’s stated goal was to create a high-tech, revolutionarily-advanced manufacturing campus, setting the stage for future growth.
“Twenty-five million pounds of demolished material, 5 million pounds of recycled metal, 2 million pounds of abated asbestos,” explained Tom Bell, CEO and chairman of Rolls-Royce North America.
“One and a half million hours of labor. And over 2,000 individual machine moves. A huge journey over six years,” he added.
“Rolls-Royce has been innovating in Indianapolis for decades to serve our customers. Now, we take a major technological leap into the future with facilities that are among the most advanced and efficient of any Rolls-Royce site, anywhere in the world. We thank all those who have supported us in this journey, including leaders from the state of Indiana, the city of Indianapolis and our federal representatives in Washington, D.C.,” Bell continued.
The six-year modernization program included over $600 million of investments in facilities and technology and has transformed manufacturing capabilities at the Rolls-Royce Indianapolis Operations Center.
The revitalized facilities are highly efficient and will improve competitiveness in an increasingly contested marketplace for propulsion and power solutions. The modernized facilities have already significantly improved energy efficiency and helped Rolls-Royce in its journey to become net-zero in carbon use in operations by 2030.
Phil Burkholder, Rolls-Royce Defense, Executive Vice President, Global Manufacturing, Assembly and Test, said, “Rolls-Royce Indianapolis facilities feature brand-new advanced manufacturing equipment, new and efficient processes, increased flexibility in operations, and have enhanced our ability to pivot to the future in a highly efficient manner. The new facilities also elevate digital engineering and robotics capabilities to maximize operations throughout the manufacturing campus. We look forward to delivering the benefits of these improvements to our customers every day.”
The revitalization program began in 2015, with a vision to transform aging, World War II era manufacturing buildings into the most modern and advanced manufacturing capabilities anywhere. Three primary operations buildings – known as Excellence, Performance and Victory – were upgraded through a carefully orchestrated process in which new technology was designed and installed, and old manufacturing equipment was removed — while continuing to deliver engines and products to customers without interruption.
Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis, said, “We’re excited to celebrate this latest major addition to Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, which affirms one of our community’s most important businesses at the cutting edge of its field. Today’s announcement joins a long and proud lineage among other banner days in our city’s relationship with this company, and sets up an even stronger partnership in the years to come.”
Additionally, inefficient buildings dating to 1942 were removed, resulting in a smaller footprint but much greater manufacturing capability.
Rolls-Royce continues planning for new test capabilities on the Indianapolis campus to support military engine production, with an announcement expected in the future.
Rolls-Royce Indianapolis primarily serves U.S. military customers, manufacturing engines and components for the C-130J Super Hercules, V-22 Osprey, E-2 Hawkeye, Global Hawk and Triton, F-35B Lightning II, and other military aircraft. The site also produces engines and power components for the U.S. Navy, industrial power generation, commercial aircraft, and helicopter customers.
Photo of F-35B Lightning II is courtesy of Lockheed Martin. It uses the world’s only STOVL technology (vertical lift system) for supersonic jets, manufactured in Indiana by Rolls Royce.