LONDON, Sept 27 – British arms manufacturer BAE Systems on Tuesday said it plans to axe almost 3,000 jobs in Britain, mainly at its military aircraft division, as governments slash their defence budgets.
“Our customers are facing huge pressures on their defence budgets and affordability has become an increasing priority,” BAE Systems chief executive Ian King said in a statement unveiling the “nearly 3,000” job losses.
“Our business needs to rise to this challenge to maintain its competitiveness and ensure its long-term future,” King added.
The largest number of job cuts will be in northern England at facilities in Brough, where 899 positions will be lost, and in Warton and Samlesbury.
There will also be jobs shed at BAE’s head office in Farnborough in the south and at other sites dotted across Britain.
The news followed days of speculation over impending job cuts at Britain’s biggest defence company.
The company has also begun a consultation about ending manufacturing at the Brough plant, which currently employs 1,300.
BAE Systems said its military aircraft division had been hampered by a slowdown in orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 combat jets.
“Some of our major programmes have seen significant changes. The four partner nations in the Typhoon programme have agreed to slow production rates to help ease their budget pressures,” King said.
“Whilst this will help extend our production schedule and ensure the production line stays open until we receive anticipated export contracts, it does reduce the workload at a number of our sites.
“Pressure on the US defence budget and top-level programme changes mean the anticipated increase in F-35 production rates will be slower than originally planned, again impacting on our expected workload.
“To ensure we remain competitive, both in the UK and internationally, we need to reduce the overall costs of our businesses in line with our reduced workload,” he added.