By Steve Martin
Aerospace engine manufacturing giant Rolls-Royce will expand its already large footprint at Purdue, thanks to a new commitment among the university, Purdue Research Foundation and the company.
The enhanced partnership calls for Rolls-Royce to further enlarge its facilities in the Purdue Aerospace District, which is adjacent to the university. The new test facilities will be used to develop high-altitude and hybrid-electric engines to power the next generation of U.S. military aircraft. Rolls-Royce West Lafayette will be developed through a multimillion-dollar investment from the research foundation, Purdue University and Rolls-Royce North America.
The partnership is a major win for the national security and technology pillar of Purdue’s Next Moves. Rolls- Royce already has facilities focusing on digital engine controls and conducts advanced technology engine research at Purdue’s Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories in the district. It’s part of a long-standing partnership between the company and university spanning several decades of conducting aerospace research. The company also employs hundreds of Purdue engineers.
The facility will enable Rolls-Royce North America to continue its legacy of providing full-service advanced design, development, production and aftermarket support of world-leading propulsion solutions.
Mung Chiang, Purdue’s president-elect, said testing to be conducted by Rolls-Royce will substantially advance national security.
“It represents the largest single economic development success to our neighborhood with Rolls-Royce colleagues and the largest research collaboration with a private sector partner,” he said. “It also advances the excellence at scale by Purdue in creating the epicenter of aerospace engineering R&D in the U.S.”
Brian Edelman, Purdue Research Foundation president, said the investment to expand Rolls- Royce’s presence in the Purdue Aerospace District is a strategic one that will make the vision become a reality. He commented, “The generous support from Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Commerce, West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County provides another example of the strong ecosystem we are building with community, university and corporate partners.”