OKLAHOMA CITY — A new drone maintenance center has been opened at Tinker Air Force Base's Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.

The center, which opened Tuesday under a partnership between the Air Force and Rolls-Royce, will overhaul and repair F137 engines that power the Air Force's fleet of Global Hawk drones, The Oklahoman reported.

Tinker and Rolls-Royce officials said the center will create as many as 30 new jobs. They hope more jobs will be created over time as the number of engines rotating through the depot grows.

The center's vice director, Wade Wolfe, said the plan is to work on about 12 engines per year. The F137 engine that powers the Global Hawk is the same one powering the U.S. Navy's Triton drone. Global Hawks were first deployed in 2001 with the purpose to handle overseas operations, a variety of different humanitarian relief effort missions for the U.S. Air Force to support war fighters in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn.

"We are hopeful this opens the door for future partnerships, because the core of this engine is common with many of the other AE type engines that Rolls-Royce has," Wolfe said. He added that the company is bringing four people to Oklahoma City to work for the depot.

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