Test facility moves to USA

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Rolls-Royce broke ground yesterday for its new outdoor jet engine testing facility at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

This new facility will be used to test development and prototype jet engines for performance, noise, validation of safety systems and other factors. Initially, it will test the company's latest, high-thrust Trent engines, the Trent 1000 and Trent 900, being developed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 respectively. Work is expected to begin at the site in the second half of 2007.

This is the first Rolls-Royce test facility of its kind outside the UK and the first built from the ground-up in the US. Last year, the company announced its intent to relocate this testing capability from the UK to the US.

"Today's groundbreaking underscores our continuing commitment to globalisation and to the US," said Mike Ryan, Executive Vice President for Government Business, Rolls-Royce North America. "Rolls-Royce has been in the US for 100 years and we plan to be here for at least 100 more. I can think of no better way to usher in our second century than to conduct this important work on these shores."

Rolls-Royce will spend $42 million on construction and facility upgrades as well as utilise existing infrastructure at Stennis.