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Manufacturing Industry Updates

Purdue, Rolls-Royce Launch Electronic Engine Control


Officials from Rolls-Royce and Purdue University unveil an electronic engine controller for the Rolls-Royce AE 3007H jet engine during an announcement of a new engine controls facility. (Purdue University photo)

Purdue University is considered one of the top engineering schools in the country. Rolls-Royce is considered one of the top engineering companies in the world. So good things are bound to happen when the two entities get together.

On March 11, Rolls-Royce announced it had created a new new engine controls facility 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. The first controller was completed at Rolls-Royce in the Purdue Research Foundation’s Discovery Park District adjacent to the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Ind., and will be installed onto a Rolls-Royce AE 3007H engine, manufactured at the company’s facilities in Indianapolis.

Electronic engine controllers are responsible for control of complicated gas turbine engines, monitoring and adjusting multiple factors such as air and fuel flow, according to Purdue. 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 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.

The 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 and the U.S. Navy MQ-25 Stingray aircraft.

“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,” said Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce’s president of defense and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America. “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.”

Purdue is a designated Rolls-Royce University Technology Partnership. Rolls-Royce has invested more than $18 million at Purdue since 2015, and more than 600 Purdue graduates work for Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis. Rolls-Royce and Purdue also have collaborated on initiatives in cybersecurity and digital technology.


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