WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., 1 April 2014. Officials at GE Aviation, a provider of jet engines and aircraft systems, plan to break ground this year on a new $100 million jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette, Ind.—the seventh new GE Aviation facility in the U.S. in the past seven years.
The new Lafayette, Ind., factory will join sites in Batesville, Miss.; Auburn, Ala.; Greenville, S.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Ellisville, Miss.; and Asheville, N.C. Between 2013 and 2017, GE Aviation officials expect to invest more than $3.5 billion in plant and equipment at its sites worldwide, with most of the investment in the U.S.
The new 225,000-square-foot facility in Lafayette will assemble the new LEAP engine from CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France. CFM has logged total orders and commitments with airlines for more than 6,000 LEAP jet engines–and it does not enter service until 2016. It will power new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft for airlines worldwide.
The LEAP, launched in 2008, is currently undergoing development testing. As the engine transitions to the production phase, GE could begin hiring at the new Lafayette facility as early as 2015. Within five years, the plant’s workforce is expected to exceed 200 people with the capacity to do final assembly for the engine as well as the engine’s hot section (compressor, combustor, high-pressure turbine).
“Beginning in 2015, the LEAP engine will experience a dramatic production ramp-up for the remainder of the decade. We are grateful to the entire Indiana team for ensuring that our Lafayette assembly plant will be soon up and running,” says David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“With a nod to our past and an eye on our future, Indiana is a manufacturing state, with decades of experience in building the items that power our world. But we are also a state of innovation, developing the technologies of tomorrow,” Indiana Governor Mike Pence explains. “GE Aviation’s plans in Indiana fuse the two. By selecting Indiana for its new jet engine facility, the company gains a workforce skilled at both developing the big ideas and bringing them to life.”
Final assembly of the LEAP engine at the Lafayette facility will involve using components and sub-assemblies from GE and Snecma operations and from their suppliers around the world. The LEAP engine will also be assembled at GE’s existing engine assembly plant in Durham, N.C.
The Lafayette facility will operate an advanced assembly line incorporating several new technologies, including automated vision inspection systems and radio frequency parts management to easily spot parts on the shop floor.