WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue University’s economic impact on the state continues to grow. That’s why Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state officials joined those from Purdue on Wednesday (Oct. 13) to celebrate the grand opening of Saab’s West Lafayette facility.
The multimillion-dollar facility, located in the Discovery Park District adjacent to the Purdue campus, supports production of the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation T-7A jet trainer. When at full capacity by 2027, Saab will employ over 300 people in the West Lafayette facility. The facility, announced in May 2018, opened early this year on the West Lafayette site. However, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the grand opening to this week.
Saab is part of Purdue’s rapidly growing defense research and technology ecosystem, which includes plans for the only Mach 8 HYPULSE wind tunnel in the world and an expanding Rolls-Royce presence. Within the last couple of years, Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL at Purdue) also has built and located within the Discovery Park District.
All of these are adding jobs in Indiana’s economy and filling multiple needs in research and development while making the state more attractive in its efforts to gain in prestige in the U.S. tech sector. The Saab advanced manufacturing facility also supports Purdue’s Next Moves – strategic initiatives designed to advance the university’s competitive advantage.
“Purdue and the state of Indiana recognize the importance of the United States maintaining its advanced technology capabilities relative to strategic rivals,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “One of the university’s goals and, we believe, duties, is to bring leading-edge companies like Saab to the Discovery Park District along with federal laboratories and startups.”
Holcomb said establishing the Saab advanced manufacturing facility is another example of how industry and the state can succeed together.
“Indiana continues to grow its national footprint in the high-tech, national security sectors because of partnerships like this with Saab,” Holcomb said. “When universities make strategic decisions to join such partnerships, like Purdue with its outstanding researchers, students and alumni who are making the next giant leaps, Indiana’s impact on the world grows even stronger.”
Erik Smith, president and CEO of Saab Inc., said the state-of-the-art facility in West Lafayette is a fundamental part of the company’s strategy to grow its U.S. industrial and technology base.
“This facility brings us closer to our U.S. customers and deepens our relationship with them,” Smith said. “We also see there are great opportunities for innovative research through our partnership with Purdue University.”
Indiana partners in the project include the cities of West Lafayette and Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Greater Lafayette Commerce and Purdue Research Foundation, all of which offered local and county tax abatements as incentives to bring Saab to the area.