Rolls-Royce North America has won a coveted $ 500 million contract to build replacement engines for the Air Force’s B-52 fleet, the Indianapolis-based company announced Friday evening.
The project could potentially create hundreds of new jobs in Indianapolis, with up to 120 to 150 expected in the first year of the contract, said Tom Bell, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America, during a press briefing. The “indefinite delivery” contract has a base six-year timeline and could generate even more dollars for Rolls-Royce.
The company noted that the contract has a potential value of up to $ 2.6 billion if the Air Force exercises all options.
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“At Rolls-Royce, we are incredibly touched, privileged and honored to have been selected by the US Air Force to lend our name to this iconic B-52 brand,” said Bell. “We’re very happy to be able to repay the investment our Hoosier workforce has put into us over the years to build great American jet engines – to also add the B-52 to the engines we power at Rolls. -Royce. “
With great fanfare, Rolls-Royce announced in 2019 its intention to continue the contract for the US Air Force’s B-52 commercial engine replacement program. The campaign, initially billed as a year-long effort, was one of the biggest deals the company has ever had.
The Air Force has received four bids for the project, the company said in a press release. Bell did not speculate on what helped Rolls-Royce win the contract, preferring to wait for the Air Force to explain.
As part of the contract, Rolls-Royce will supply 608 commercial F-130 engines, as well as spare parts, for the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft. The company will also provide the associated support equipment and engineering data.
Work is expected to be completed by September 23, 2038. Rolls-Royce said it also intends to work closely with Boeing now that it is under contract.
In a statement issued shortly after Friday’s press conference, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett praised the company.
“The B-52 engine contract will add 150 high-tech and highly skilled jobs to our community, bringing even more investment and activity to our local economy,” Hogsett said. “This announcement builds on our long tradition of aerospace innovation, fueled by the workers and families of UAW Local 933, and ensures that Rolls-Royce and Indianapolis will continue to lead for decades.”
Rolls-Royce will build and test the engines in Indianapolis, where the company recently completed a $ 600 million renovation to modernize its operations centers.
“Our Indianapolis workforce has really gotten into the details to ensure that our company’s investment in this site and our revitalization of this manufacturing facility was successful in terms of time, budget and success. quality, ”said Bell. “We are thrilled to have this factor and now winning this business to put in this factory is the perfect reward for this workforce to say that the struggle, these challenges and success comes with new jobs, to new jobs and an exciting future to be part of this franchise. “