US Lockheed Martin to cut 4,000 jobs as spending falls

US Lockheed Martin to cut 4,000 jobs as spending falls

ATLANTA - Reuters
US Lockheed Martin to cut 4,000 jobs as spending falls

Workers are on the moving line and forward fuselage assembly areas for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Lockheed Martin Corp’s factory in Texas. REUTERS photo

Lockheed Martin Corp, the world’s largest defense contractor, plans to slash 4,000 jobs and shutter plants in several states to reduce costs in the face of declining U.S. defense spending.

The Bethesda, Maryland, weapons maker will close the affected facilities by mid-2015 to achieve job cuts that amount to more than 3 percent of its global workforce.

“Our customers face an increasingly complex global security environment with rapidly shrinking budgets,” Lockheed chief executive officer Marilyn Hewson said in a memo Nov. 14 to employees entitled “Making Difficult Decisions to Secure Our Future.”

The plants being closed include operations in Akron, Ohio, that make parts for radar and surveillance systems; Newtown, Pennsylvania, which makes communications satellites; Goodyear, Arizona, which handles software development for sensors; and Horizon City, Texas, which performs final assembly of missiles.

The company said four buildings at its Sunnyvale, California, space systems operation will also be shut.

The plant closures will eliminate 2,000 positions, Lockheed said, while “operational efficiency initiatives” will pare another 2,000 in the information systems and global solutions, mission system and training and space systems business segments by the end of 2014.

Certain work will be relocated to other Lockheed facilities such as Denver and Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

A number of defense companies have shed non-core divisions, consolidated facilities and cut jobs in recent years to cope with revenue declines as the United States, the world’s largest weapons buyer, pares its military budget.

The Pentagon, Lockheed’s biggest customer, is bracing for one trillion dollars in spending cuts over the next decade as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act and the U.S. sequestration process.

Last month, Britain’s BAE Systems said it would close a Texas facility that builds combat vehicles and cut more than 300 jobs.