The decision on whether to locate the plant in the United States will be made next year, with the plan to start operations at the new facility as Boeing 787 production ramps up, according to Phil Hopton, vice president Rolls-Royce Seattle operations, reported the Seattle Times. The first jet engine for Boeing 787 is being assembled at Rolls-Royce's Derby plant: eight engines are to be built for ground tests with another nine for flight tests. Turbine blades for the engine are also made at Rolls-Royce’s flagship factory in Inchinnan (see Machinery, March 2005, page 18) as well at another Rolls-Royce factory in Israel. Mr Hopton is reported as saying that the US plant plan is being considered to balance currency shift effects, as the steady rise of the British pound against the US dollar eats into profits and requires complex currency-hedging deals. But he added that military aircraft engine work is less likely to play a part in any new factory, although it hasn't been ruled out. The planned new factory would also make ship and power-plant engines, Mr Hopton said, adding that Rolls-Royce engine design would remain in Britain even if a second plant is built. He said such a factory would begin its engine production by 2010, were it to be built. * Smiths Aerospace is to invest $44 million to open a new turbine engine components facility in West Jefferson, North Carolina, USA. In addition to West Jefferson Smiths has a second aerospace engine components business in Asheville, North Carolina. The new facility is being built to support growing demand from Smiths' customers and an increased need for precision manufactured turbine engine components for all major military and civil aircraft and engine manufacturers.