HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Rolls Royce corporation has expanded its presence in South Mississippi. Wednesday, state, local and company leaders cut the ribbon on a new jet engine test stand at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. It's a multi million dollar investment local leaders say will help grow the coast's economy.
Rolls Royce's newest test stand at Stennis served as a back drop for the forum the company used for show and tell.
"This project represents a company investment of $50 million and will provide 35 new job opportunities for area workers. These new jobs and this new engine test stand will certainly have a strong positive impact on the local economy," said Mississippi Development Authority Director Brent Christensen.
Rolls Royce opened its first outdoor jet engine test center at Stennis in 2007. It was the company's first engine test facility outside of the United Kingdom. The new stand will test the newest jet engine on the market today.
"This is an engine for Airbus; it's our XWB, it will go on the newest airplane. There is something in the neighborhood of over 350 planes already ordered for this particular product," said James Guyette, Rolls-Royce President and Executive Officer.
One of the reasons is the six ton jet engine is the most fuel efficient and quietest engines now available to airliners.
Rolls-Royce Engineering Manager Martin Flinders said, "The environmental impact on aviation is very important to us we're contently trying to reduce the fuel burn.
We're also looking at the noise profile that these engines make on these test facilities in Mississippi. We do noise measurements to ensure that they are as quiet and efficient as they can be."
Company leaders say the work done at Stennis ties the county to a much bigger picture.
"Hancock County is connected to the global economy, directly connected to the global economy. This equipment flies all over the world," said Guyette.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony Rolls Royce presented the Infinity Science Center in Hancock County with a gift. It was one of the giant engines it manufactures and tests at Stennis. It will be on display at the Science Center for visitors to see. And it is only the second time Roll Royce has donated one of its engines to an educational facility.
Infinity leaders could not be happier to receive the generous gift.
NASA Astronaut and Infinity Spokesman Fred Haise said, "Artifacts, in general, are what I say gives the wow factor to people we hope to influence to both visitors and particularly children. And I'm happy to see that Roll Royce has been gracious to provide us with a wow artifact that we can build around and really tell the story of the jet engines."