Rolls-Royce Breaks Ground In Hancock County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Rolls-Royce Breaks Ground In Hancock County

NASA's Stennis Space Center is about to enter a new era of engine testing. The Hancock County rocket engine test complex will soon give airplane jet engines the once over. The global Rolls Royce corporation broke ground on a $42 million testing facility Thursday.

"We've been looking forward to this moment for a long time," Hancock County Economic Developer Wal Walters said.

The toss of some dirt at a ground breaking ceremony signaled that Rolls-Royce is on its way to setting up shop in Hancock County.

"This is the first time Rolls-Royce has brought the crown jewels out of the UK to some other location and that's what NASA Stennis facility means to us in Rolls-Royce," Rolls-Royce Executive Vice President Mike Ryan said.

Rolls-Royce will build two jet engine stands at Stennis. Workers will test the engines for performance, noise and emissions.

"There are several environmental requirements world wide to make jet engines environmentally friendly. And we will be doing all the testing on our large civil engines here at Stennis to make sure we meet that criteria."

Initially, the company will employ about 15 people. A testing crew of 16 will also travel to Stennis every time an engine is shipped there.

"Of course that will contribute to the economy as well," Ryan said. 

"We look forward to you just sending more and more

Economic developers say having a corporation like Rolls-Royce in your backyard will only make their job easier.

Walters told WLOX NEWS, "With Rolls-Royce having a presence in Hancock County there is no doubt whatsoever that will be a huge draw for other types of business and industry. We think there will be more to follow."

And when that happens, he says, the County will be ready to welcome them.

Rolls-Royce's test operation at Stennis is scheduled to be ready sometime in the fall of next year. The company already has a Naval marine parts building outfit in Jackson County, which employs about 75 people.

by Al Showers

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