Rolls-Royce launches electronics manufacturing at Purdue
Unveiling an electronic engine controller for the Rolls-Royce AE 3007H jet engine are from left Brian Edelman, president of Purdue Research Foundation; Tom Bell, president of defense and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America; Mitch Daniels, Purdue University president; and Candice Bineyard, director of defense programs for Rolls-Royce North America.
Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe

Rolls-Royce launches electronics manufacturing at Purdue

New engine controls facility in Discovery Park District to support U.S. defense engines.

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Rolls-Royce has created a new engine controls capability near the campus of Purdue University to support its U.S. defense business, including the F130 engine competing for the U.S. Air Force B-52 program.

Rolls-Royce will assemble and test electronic engine controllers, which help manage in-flight engine operations. The first controller has been completed at Rolls-Royce in the Purdue Research Foundation’s Discovery Park District adjacent to the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, and will be installed onto a Rolls-Royce AE 3007H engine, manufactured at the company’s facilities in Indianapolis.

Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce, president - Defense and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America, said, “Rolls-Royce has partnered with Purdue University for decades, and we are excited to launch our new controls capability near the campus to assemble and test these high-tech engine components. Whether for the Rolls-Royce AE family of engines or for our competitive F130 engine for the B-52, these new controllers will support U.S. military pilots as they fly around the world, offering the highest-quality technical product.”

“The new electronic engine controllers that Rolls-Royce is developing build on the long history of collaborative research and development between Purdue and Rolls-Royce,” said Brian Edelman, president of Purdue Research Foundation. “It also is a great opportunity for Rolls-Royce to expand on the success of the company’s 2017 opening of its research and development of jet engine components in the Discovery Park District.”

Electronic engine controllers are responsible for control of complicated gas turbine engines, monitoring and adjusting multiple factors such as air and fuel flow. The high-tech controllers, which are about the size of a laptop computer, are safety-critical technical components that reduce pilot workload and enhance fuel efficiency. The very first engine equipped with the new controller will be delivered to Northrop Grumman for installation on a U.S. Navy Triton aircraft. Additionally, the new controllers will be installed on AE 3007 engines bound for the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk Hawk high-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicle and the U.S. Navy MQ-25 Stingray aircraft.

The facility at Purdue also will assemble electronic controllers for Rolls-Royce F130 engines for the Air Force B-52 strategic bomber re-engining program, if the company wins the engine competition later this year.

Purdue University is a designated Rolls-Royce University Technology Partnership that recognizes its collaborations on research, including advanced engine technology, materials and testing capability, and a Rolls-Royce investment at the university topping $18 million since 2015 and more than 600 Purdue graduates among the company’s workforce in Indianapolis. Rolls-Royce and Purdue also have collaborated on initiatives in cybersecurity and digital technology.