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Rolls-Royce North America to join research effort in new hypersonics test facility at Purdue University
Monday, 9 August 2021

Rolls-Royce will be the founding industry member of the new Hypersonics Ground Test Center (HGTC) at Purdue University, a national testing facility for the aerospace industry.

The new test centre will support U.S. national defense strategy and bring together many aerospace companies to enhance their test capability. The U.S. Department of Defense considers hypersonic capability a major priority, with seven active key rapid prototyping projects in works, a combined $3 billion in annual funding, and the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office set up to coordinate efforts.

Rolls-Royce is responding to this urgent priority with significant development efforts under way and will expand testing capability as a founding member of the new HGTC at Purdue's campus in Indiana.

Tom Bell, Chairman and CEO, Rolls-Royce North America, said, "Rolls-Royce is proud to be the founding member of this significant new addition to aerospace research. We credit leadership from the state of Indiana, Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation for their important vision and investment leading to the creation of the Hypersonics Ground Test Center. Rolls-Royce has a unique history in high-speed propulsion, dating to the Concorde aircraft and 30 years of experience on hypersonics research with our Department of Defense customers through our LibertyWorks advanced technology unit in Indianapolis. We are keenly interested in the area of hypersonic propulsion and currently exploring development of advanced supersonic and high-Mach propulsion systems with our customers."

The Purdue testing centre will create additional capability for Rolls-Royce, to develop high-Mach propulsion systems, in a way that could not be done before. It will also allow our Department of Defense partners to accelerate the development of these new systems and technologies.

The new announcement builds on a recently unveiled project between Rolls-Royce North America, Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation involving a multimillion dollar facility for hybrid-electric and altitude testing capabilities at Purdue. Altogether, the new projects will form a significant, large-scale testing campus at the Purdue Aerospace District, where Rolls-Royce already has an electronic controls facility and conducts advanced engine testing at the school's Zucrow Propulsion Labs.

Hypersonic flight is an area of growing interest within the aerospace field. Generally considered to be five times the speed of sound or higher, hypersonic flight presents considerable physical challenges such as extremely high-temperatures and significant pressures. The new test facility will allow industry and university researchers to address such challenges as aerospace programs develop.

The new project also follows a Rolls-Royce North America investment of over $600 million in advanced manufacturing facilities and technology over the past six years in Indianapolis. Additional major investment in new testing facilities at the company's Indianapolis site is expected to be announced in the near future, and Rolls-Royce recently committed to maintaining offices and employees in its downtown Indianapolis Meridian Center, utilizing an industry-leading approach to hybrid working. Rolls-Royce and its predecessor companies have been leading in aerospace innovation in Indianapolis for more than a century, and will continue to do so for decades to come as a result of ongoing investments.

Rolls-Royce and Purdue have had a long-standing partnership for many years, have conducted aerospace research together, and the university has been officially designated as a Rolls-Royce University Technology Partnership. The company employs hundreds of Purdue engineers.

Contact details from our directory:
Rolls-Royce North America Inc. Turbofan Engines, Turbojet Engines
Purdue University School of Aviation and Transportation Technology Technical/Eng/Scientific Studies, Training
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