GE Aviation hosted a ceremonial ground breaking on July 22nd, for a new $100m jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette, Indiana. The new 225,000-ft² facility in Lafayette will assemble the new LEAP engine of 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 7,500 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. Launched in 2008, the LEAP is now 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). 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, North Carolina. The Lafayette facility will operate a highly 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.