By Steve Martin
Purdue University’s economic impact on the state of Indiana continues to grow. That’s why Gov. Eric Holcomb and state officials joined those from Purdue in late 2021 to celebrate the grand opening of Saab’s West Lafayette facility.
The multimillion-dollar facility, located in the Discovery Park District at Purdue, supports production of the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation T-7A jet trainer. When at full capacity by 2027, Saab is expected to employ more than 300 people in the West Lafayette facility. The facility, announced in May 2018, opened early last year on the West Lafayette site. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the grand opening.
Saab is part of Purdue’s rapidly growing defense research and technology ecosystem, which includes plans for the first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel in the world and an expanding Rolls-Royce presence. Within the last couple of years, Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL at Purdue) also has built and located within the Discovery Park District at Purdue.
Erik Smith, president and CEO of Saab Inc., said the state-of-the-art facility in West Lafayette is a fundamental part of the company’s strategy to grow its U.S. industrial and technology base. “This facility brings us closer to our U.S. customers and deepens our relationship with them,” Smith said. “We also see there are great opportunities for innovative research through our partnership with Purdue University.”
Indiana partners in the project include the cities of West Lafayette and Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Greater Lafayette Commerce, and Purdue Research Foundation, all of which offered local and county tax abatements as incentives to bring Saab to the area.