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(WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.) – Purdue has landed a big defense plant.

Saab will build a $37 million plant in Purdue’s Discovery Park district to manufacture an advanced jet trainer aircraft for the Air Force. The Swedish aerospace giant plans to hire 300 workers and start production next year.

Saab announced two years ago it was seeking a U-S location for the trainer project in partnership with Boeing. CEO Hakan Buskhe says the company studied locations across the U-S, including its American headquarters in Syracuse, New York. He says Saab settled on West Lafayette based on a combination of Indiana’s business environment and the prospect of setting up shop next door to a potential research pipeline at Purdue.

Saab plans to include a research-and-development operation at the facility, which Governor Holcomb and Purdue president Mitch Daniels both say could multiply the plant’s impact on the state by making it a hub for cutting-edge technology.

Saab’s commitment gives Discovery Park a trifecta of aerospace companies, joining General Electric and Rolls-Royce.

Purdue president Mitch Daniels (left) examines a model of Saab’s TX trainer aircraft (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)