Rolls-Royce outlined plans to invest nearly $600 million to modernize its Indianapolis manufacturing operation and institute new technology research programs there. Rolls has 4,000 employees there, including 1,050 in production and nearly 1,400 engineers.

Rolls’ Indianapolis plant develops, assembles, and tests engines installed in defense aircraft and civil helicopters, regional and business jets, and naval and marine vessels.  Rolls-Royce also conducts aerospace R&D in Indianapolis, a program known as LibertyWorks.

The five-year modernization and improvement project will be the most extensive at that location since Rolls acquired the former Allison Engine Co. for $525 million in 1995.

Plant facilities described as “outdated” will be replaced and new and advanced manufacturing technologies will be introduced.  Rolls said renovation of the existing plant would begin immediately.

Plans call for renovating the existing plant and installing new manufacturing and assembly operations comparable to “advanced standards already present in many other Rolls-Royce facilities.”

The plan also calls for consolidating operations to reduce utility costs.

Rolls will receive tax credits and a “skills enhancement grant” worth an estimated $35 million from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the city of Indianapolis, which agreed in principle to amend Rolls-Royce’s existing real and personal property tax abatement agreement.

Rolls-Royce credited the state and the city, and the United Auto Workers union, for making the modernization program possible.

“Our new facility will be a state-of-the-art manufacturing center that combines modern production systems and machinery with a highly skilled workforce,” stated Marion Blakey, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce America. “This investment ensures that we can increase our competitiveness in the market, which will benefit both our customers and Rolls-Royce.”